Monday, March 10, 2008
Young men and the HPV vaccine
By Amy Burkholder
Medical Producer

The army of "Gardasil girls" featured in Merck's aggressive ad campaign may soon have new recruits in the fight to be "one less" woman with cervical cancer - boys.

And while some tenets of the debate are the same - vaccinating kids for the sexually transmitted human papapilloma virus well before they're even old enough for their first high school dance - there's a gender twist: Some see it as submitting boys to an altruistic vaccine, one they'd get to protect girls.

Now, families with both teen girls and teen boys may find themselves at an intersection of morals and mandates - where virtue meets virus. (Read about one mother's struggle over vaccinating her daughters.)

Merck tells CNN that studies on Gardasil in boys should be completed this year, and it hopes to have the vaccine approved and available to young men as early as next year, likely for 16-to 23-year-olds - in the form of the same series of three shots that young women now receive.

It's not just a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, Merck insists.

Merck says Gardasil is showing promise of protecting boys from genital, penile and rectal warts. Experts say among gay men, cancer of the anus is becoming almost as common as cervical cancer, and some clinics are starting to do regular HPV smears in men.

But just as approval for girls wasn't an easy road, the issue of "should or must get" is stickier with boys. After the FDA approved the vaccine last June for girls and women ages 9 to 26, the CDC immunization advisory panel later recommended all 11-and 12-year-old girls get the shots.

Some facts to consider: HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women, among the top cancer-killers of women. If boys could be vaccinated, the spread of the virus would slow considerably, according to public health officials. According to the CDC, 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. Gardasil protects girls and women against four of the dozens of strains of human, or HPV, two of which are responsible for 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. The other two types account for 90 percent of genital warts, which affect both men and women.

Of course, there are other things that protect teens from HPV, including abstinence. Critics say that should be the focus, rather than pushing a vaccine on them. "Only in the past few decades have we said that it is OK and natural," writes one blogger on the issue of Gardasil for boys. "Baloney. I would teach my child fornication is wrong, and that a young man should retain his virginity until marriage."

Do you think boys should be vaccinated against HPV? Why or why not? We'd love to hear from you.

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As a mom of six - 5 girls and one boy - I'm all for a vaccine for both genders. My oldest three girls have already gotten the Gardasil series, with my next one starting hers late this year. I am the kind of parent who wants to do everything I can to ensure the health of my children for as long as I can. For those parents who don't like to think of their children having sex, I don't either. It's a fact of life, however, that these children will grow up and have sex. You choose not to have your child vaccinated and your child remains a virgin until marriage. GREAT! What if their spouse carries the HPV virus and now your unprotected child is now infected? What if your child is the victim of rape by someone carrying the virus?
I for one am glad that soon the boys will also have a vaccine. I have been consistently distraught with how our society places almost all sexual responsibility on women when it comes to birth control, stds, etc., when all the men have to do is "show up & have a good time". It is ludicrous to raise young men to have little or no responsible when engaging in behavior that can create life in the form of a birth or death in the form of a serious std. Males of all ages must be forced to share in more of the responsibility when it comes to reproductive issues.
Morality? What is so moral about cervical cancer or anal cancer? If you want to argue the issue of whether or not to use this vaccine in girls and boys because of morality, then where's the morality of not protecting your children from the possibility from cancer?
Children, including mine, grow up and live adult lives. If I can do anything to protect my son then I will.
With some of the recent news articles on vaccine safety concerns and the Vaccine Injury Court conceding in one case that vaccines did cause a child's autism, why would anyone consider giving their child yet another vaccine that isn't absolutely necessary. I know that neither abstinence or safe sex practices are an absolute answer, but they have no side effects. Until vaccine safety is under better control and unbiased scrutiny isn't it better for our children to "first do no harm"?

And has anyone noted that all the ads and hype say that HPV "MAY CAUSE" cervical cancer. I read one article (and I apologize that I didn't save it) that there is still some doubt as to whether these viruses actually cause cancer or are incidental.
I think the issue of sex should be completely removed from the debate and focus placed squarely on the medical benefits and realty at hand. We are learning that HPV strands cause a variety of cancers, oral, penile variations of skin cancer etc. Regardless of sexual orientation or timing the fact of life is eventually someone will have sex, and it doesn't matter if it's with the person you marry or not transmission is still completely possible. A vaccine could prevent scores of disfiguring, pyscologically traumatizing and often deadly cancers (squamas cell head and neck) in both sexes. I don't see a need for debate, I see a vaccine with life saving potential.
I'm also in favor of vaccination as much as possible. I'm a 30-year old woman who has only had sex with one person in my life -- my husband. I have HPV.
It's painful, but you have to separate science from morality. There are all sorts’ of "what if's" that can expose people to sexually transmitted diseases, including HPV. One wonders if knowingly exposing your childen to HPV, by not having them vaccinated, isn't a bigger moral sin that expecting abstinence.
I haven't found out yet whether or not the vaccine would cure a carrier. Anybody know?
I realize that most of the debate on this vaccine is grounded in the moral standards that many parents wish to impart to their children. My objection to it is from a purely medical concern. Every vaccine carries the risk of adverse reactions including death. With so many vaccines being recommended and even required - Often bundled together - this risk has to be considered. Vaccines are big money for companies like Merck and they are completely insulated from litigation while VAERS very narrowly defines what can be counted as an adverse reaction. Many adverse reactions will go unreported or uncounted and some may not be known for decades to come. I wouldn't be to anxious to be among the first to receive this or any other new vaccine. There are some legitimate concernes about the safety and efficacy of many vaccines as well as the timing in which they are administered and the number of boosters needed to impart lasting immunity. Despite Merck's aggressive marketing, I won't rush out to have my children vaccinated but I will definitelly have long discussions with them about the risks of HPV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Oh yes, I am in favor of the vaccine for boys and girls.
No doubt
As a single working father, I see a rush to judgement here. Do we know the long term effects of the vaccination? Why are we going to consider injecting boys with something that will benefit girls without proof that it will not cause some long term damage to the boys themselves? Would we consider doing the opposite for the health of boys? I think not. My proof is no father away than the same page. We still don't know the link between vaccinations and autism and that's been going on for decades. My son will not be getting vaccinated for something that is not going to benefit him.
It's about time that males took on more responsibility in the sexual protection arena. I would definitely get my boys vaccinated.
My problem with the HPV vaccine is that it is still experimential it is less than 5yrs old and has been on the market for less than 2yrs.And the test group was only about 1,500 woman.Besides the fact that the company that holds the pantent is the sole producer,it amounts to a "cash cow" to the pharmacutical companies.It's method of production I also find worrysome.HPV cannot be cultured so they use a related virus "smallpox" and some how alter it to behave and act like HPV so that your body will react to it as if it were HPV.My question is what if there is a lapse in quality control at some point?Is there a risk of infecting people with smallpox?If they were to come out with a HIV vaccine tomarrow I would not be the first in line to recieve it.
I agree. I got the vaccine the year it came out, which was my first year of college. Both my parents believed was a good idea. Since men are carriers, they should also be vaccinated because it would quickly decrease the spread of the virus to women. I think the only reason people have a problem with this vaccine in particular is because of the moral connotations of sex and because we are afraid to explain sex to our children. Parents need to remember that by high school, their children are going to be taught about STIs - even though in most high schools "abstinence only" is taught, STI/STD lessons are still given. Parents should be able to make their own decisions, but if I could protect my child from a potential cancer, I most certainly would.
I am a mother of 2, a boy and a girl, and I wouldn't get either one vaccinated with Gardasil. This vaccine is too new to know the long term side effects and I'm unconvinced that the shots are safe. Girls have died after receiving this shot and I'm not going to take that chance with my two healthy kids. Most healthy women can recover from HPV naturally. Sexually active girls should have regular pap tests to make sure they are healthy and cancer free. I don't think any vaccine should be mandated. Just like any medical procedure that carries the risk of injury or death, the choice to vaccinate or not to vaccinate should be determined by the patient or the patients guardian and should be based on truly informed consent.
As someone who has studied this subject intensively from a legal perspective, I will be very interested to see what happens if doctors decide to recommend the vaccine for gay men to prevent anal cancers. That will open a whole new bag of issues. Will people deny their sons the vaccine because they don't want to acknowledge the possibility that their child might turn out to be gay, just like they deny their daughters the vaccine because they don't want them to have premarital sex? Will there be constitutional issues involved with giving the vaccine to only girls if boys also face similar risks? I'm interested to see what happens next and what it reveals about Americans' frame of mind.

The HPV vaccine has had the effect of revealing our society's concept of women. If people have different sentiment about whether to give the vaccine to their sons vis-a-vis their daughters, that seems to me to say something about how we look at women in America.

The concept that we shouldn't vaccinate children because it's acknowledging their potential sexuality is very interesting. For women, are we weighing the known lethality of cervical cancer against our fear that they will have sex? The fact is that even married adult women who have never had sex face a real risk of getting HPV, and cervical cancer, from their partner. And what about women who are exposed to sex as victims of rape, incest, etc.? Normally, our society is very concerned with protecting those victims and their health. Normally, we would take steps to prevent known and preventable lethal risks, but in this case many in our society are resistant.

The singleminded focus on abstinence brazenly ignores the reality that 90% of Americans have premarital sex. STIs pose a real risk whether we like to acknowledge it or not. HPV is passed through oral sex (which has become more popular among youths as an unintended consequence of abstinence education) and appears to be a greater cause of oropharyngeal cancers than smoking. Whether parents think that children should or should not have premarital sex, it is normally their instinct to act to protect their childrens' lives and health when possible. But here, parents are rejecting the vaccine and knowingly endangering their childrens' lives. It seems like we have our priorities backwards when we are more concerned about our children having sex than about their survival per se.

I say: protect your children and try to teach them the values you think are right - but first and foremost, protect your children whenever and wherever you can.
As a college student, I think the media attention and debates generated by this vaccine have actually increased awareness of the dangers of unprotected sexual activity. Some parents are worrying that giving this vaccine will promote sexual activity among their children, but the opposite is also true. By highlighting the possible consequences, children may be more inclined to wait longer and be safer.
From what I understand:
Cervical cancer is very rare in women under 30 years old.
The studies they did for the HPV Vaccine are about 8 years old.
The age group was 16 to 18 year olds.
And since none of them got cancer then the vaccine was touted as a "cure" in the prevention of cervical cancer.
So then they decided to vaccinate even younger girls than the test subjects they used and they yse scare tactics to encourage mothers to "proteect" their daughters.
Seems to me this is more of a way to make Merck money than to protect anyone. And how will this vaccine affect these kids later in life?
They don't know because none of them are over 30 yet!

People need to educate themselves and understand that the drug companies are not altruistic, they are a business out to make lots of money.
I understand they spend WAY more in advertising than they do on research.
I also heard that the most successful drug reps that visit the doctors offices are pretty young women. And they are the ones the doctor is "educated" by on using whatever drug they are SELLING. Most doctors only know what the drug reps tell them and they get PAID to prescribe their drug!
So do you really want to trust in what the drug companies are advertising or do you want to educate yourself?
Google the studies done for HPV and learn for yourself that they are not old enough to prove anything regarding cervical cancer since it is very rare already in anyone under 30 and none of the "test subjects" they have used has even reached that age.
Getting this vaccine neither encourages risky behavior or implies that a child will soon engage in sexual activity. Vaccination is intended to protect a child in the future just like any other vaccine. My 11 year old daughter has had the vaccine today to protect her some time in the future. Hopefully, it will be far into the future! Regardless, the best time for vaccination with any vaccine is before you are at risk to the virus. Pre-teens are not typically at risk. I protect my daughter now for her future. If I had a son, I would want to protect him too. I would also want to protect his future spouse or someone's daughter. My daughter will make good decisions because we raised her to make good decisions. I will vaccinate her because it is my job to protect her.
I have known about and warned my two daughters about the HPV virus for over 15 years. I first heard about it when our oldest was only two. I heard Bette Middler try to discuss it on one of those afternoon talk shows. It was frightening how quickly they went to break and she was no longer on stage when they came back.
In any case I wasn't too concerned for our daughter being exposed at the age of 2 but still I did my research. Most of which is difficult at best to find. For years my entire family looked at me like I had two heads any time I tried to discuss this with them or warn them of the dangers of HPV and having intercourse before adulthood. I must admit to feeling somewhat vindicated when Gardasil started their campaing blitz of "One Less".
What concerns me is Gardasil and the CDC and everyone else is only talking about the vaccine as the only preventive method. No one is acknowledging the fact that if females just wait until they are fully developed (18-25 years of age) to engage in sex they essentially eliminate their risk for developing cervical cancer even if they are exposed to the HPV virus. The immature cervix is to fragile to deal with the virus. The studies they've done on Gardasil were only 5 years in length and the females were between the ages of 18 to 30ish. Most cervical cancers do not occur until the 4th or 5th decade of life so how can they say that Gardasil is 100% effective?
Do not understand why people are up in arms about the HPV vaccine. Why because it is transmitted sexually, come on people we are talking about a lifetime of protection against cervical cancer. No one is against the HBV vaccine, which is given at a much earlier age (neonates) and last time I checked HBV is transmitted by sex and IV drug abuse. Giving HBV vaccine at an early age has not made any babies that I know of more prone to have sex or use drugs at a later age.
I have two teenage daughters and they both have started the HPV series....they learned about the shot series in school and all their friends are getting it! I agree that a series for the "guys" would only help!
I am a male who even though my parents taught me abstinence I still contracted Genital Warts at 22. If this Vaccine protects both boys and girls I feel like it should be a required Vaccine for all children. Isn't that the purpose of these drugs is to protect us from communicable diseases. Lets face it folks we live in a very dangerous world and we have to do what ever it takes to keep our kids safe and healthy.
The following headlines says it all:
"Study: 1 in 4 teen girls has an STD"

The most common STD is HPV virus. This vaccine would save millions of girls and boys from being infected with HPV. Why would anyone want to have this disease inflicted upon their children? Society tries to restrain people from sexual activity with only limited success. Humans sexuality can be only restrained not eliminated. We need to protect our children if we can.
I have two granddaughters, I would want them protected if it is possible.
I'm 19 and I can say that teenagers are going to be sexually active for the most part. I can see how a lot of people see giving this to kids as a sign of giving up on morals and all that. However, better safe than sorry. I say give it to them and just not tell them what it is. Tell them it's a cootie vaccine or something.
Another potential reason that males should be vaccinated is that the HPV virus plays a role not only in cervical cancer, but also in squamos cancer of the oral mucosa. Increasingly it has been shown that HPY infections of the mouth (from oral sex practices etc) works synergistically with tobacco and alcohol to greatly increase the risk of oral cancer. Perhaps this vaccination wold help curb this risk factor in boys who are overwhelmingly at increased risk for oral cancer.
I'm a medical student, and I'd like to clarify some issues raised by other posters. Study after study after study has shown that persistent infection with a high risk type of HPV (ie 16 or 18) is associated with cervical "pre-cancer" and cancer. The studies done on Gardasil were, as one poster pointed out, too short for women to develop cervical cancer. So what the researchers did was to take a group of women, confirm that they were not infected with HPV to start off with, and gave half the vaccine and the other half a placebo (fake shot). They followed these women over time and saw that many of those who received the placebo acquired HPV. In the group that received the vaccine, ZERO women acquired a strain of HPV covered by the vaccine. Since you can't get cervical cancer without a persistent infection with a high risk strain of HPV, we can draw the conclusion that the women who were vaccinated will not develop cervical cancer (at least not one caused by a strain covered in the vaccine).

Women ages 18-25 and up can be infected by HPV just as easily as anyone else. Younger age of first intercourse is associated with HPV infection only because girls who have sex younger typically have more partners, which is really what increases their risk.

And I still don't see why everyone thinks this gives teenagers a free pass to have sex- there are still plenty of other infections to worry about (HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, herpes, etc), not to mention pregnancy!

And yes, I think boys should get it too for the herd immunity, and because they can get oral, penile, and anal cancer from HPV. We already do something similar with the rubella vaccine (part of MMR)- rubella is ONLY dangerous to fetuses, but we vaccinate everyone to lessen the likelihood that pregnant women will become infected.
This is a great vaccine that many people are avoiding due to unnecessary reasons. You can still promote abstinance and give the vaccine - it is by no means an all or none decision. This vaccine does not protect against HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, hepatitis, etc. so safe sex education still needs to be present regardless.

I agree with those who say that there isn't enough long term data as far as protection into patients 3rd, 4th, and 5th decades. What if there needs to be a booster shot like with tetanus due to waning efficacy? But by vaccinating early, you prevent transmission at a time when people will be their most promiscuous.

Lastly, yeah HPV does not directly translate into cervical cancer. Millions of women are infected with HPV but only a small fraction will eventually develop into cancer. But that 'small fraction' is still tens of thousands of women that can be saved by getting a vaccine. HPV genes that promote cellular replication are found in the vast majority of malignant cells is further proof. The evidence of the HPV connection is incredibly prevalent, you just have to look at the numerous articles in many scientific journals rather than just on mainstream news sources.
We should be doing everything we can to protect ourselves and others from debilitating and even fatal diseases. When boys and men don't get the vaccine because they think its only to protect women its like having HIV and not wearing a condom to protect your partner. Men and boys aren't only going to be protecting themselves, but will also be protecting wives, mothers, and friends. Additionally, ALL girls need to get this vaccine as soon as possible- it saves lives.
I think that both girls and boys should get the vaccine. Let's stop making this a sexualized issue and appreciate that the HPV virus doesn't magically pop into a girl's cervix by an immaculate conception. Grow up parents! Your children are having sex! Protect them at the very least.
Would these parents that refuse to give this vaccine to kids also make their kids not wear seatbelts in the car because to wear it means that they are not driving carefully? that they should not insure their house because no one should be playing with matches? The principles of sexual abstinence are in a different realm than issues of safety in an uncertain world. Please give your children the HPV vaccine. Condoms may not protect against the transmission of HPV, nor herpes for that matter.
I think it is important to understand the following facts about HPV cancers and risks which were not fully described by Dr. Gupta.

There are over 100 strains of HPV. Gardasil only protects against 4 types but many more can cause cancer and a variety of cancers.

As many as 80% of all adults over 50 have HPV. Sex at a young age may increase the risk of getting cervical cancer especially when engaged in intercourse with any older male because they will generally carry more then one strain of HPV, however you can develop it at any age after exposure. In addition, you can get any of the other HPV related cancers so the woman's comments above are misleading at best. HPV is very communicable and it only takes having intercourse one time to be exposed. In addition, you can be exposed without having intercourse because HPV lives on the skin and hair. As a result, condoms will not prevent the spread of it. It can also be spread to other areas via hands for example.

Cervical cancer is only one type of cancer caused by HPV. Over 25% of all Head and Neck cancers are caused by HPV. One person per day is dying from this type of cancer in the US. HPV also causes penile cancer, anal cancer (you do not need to have anal sex to get this cancer), bladder cancer, 12% of all childhood brain cancers, vulva cancer, and many more. The most widely reported is cervical cancer but the reality is that this virus is responsible for so many types of cancer and the education is not being given about the risks.

Please do the research. Understand that HPV is a huge issue WW and so many cancers are as a result of it. Get the vaccine. Make sure your dentist does the proper protocol for Oral Cancer screening at each visit, etc.
To the person who is confused about HPV and the link to Cervical Cancer. Please do the research. 100% of all Cervical Cancer is HPV related. New studies show this is also the case with Anal cancer although you do not need to have Anal sex to contact it. 25% of all Head and Neck cancers are HPV related. 12% of all childhood brain tumors are HPV related.

Not everyone who contracts HPV gets cancer of course and different HPV strains are more likely to cause cancers then others.

These are facts. Do the research. Do whatever you can to protect your children but rest assured HPV does cause cervical cancer.

I am unhappy to hear this morning that almost one quarter of girls have some type of STD. It should be kept in mind that these girls probably would not have these diseases if they did not engage in sexual activity with a BOY or MAN who also has the disease. Your lopsided approach to reporting this story only perpetuates the chauvinistic notion that women alone are to be blamed for behavior that results in rape, unwanted pregnancy, sexual and physical abuse, and sexually transmitted diseases. Men are the other part of this inequality--bearing at least half if not more of the responsibility for curtailing activities that lead to the abuse of women.
As a 23 year old woman, I can attest that the cervical cancer threat is real. I slept with one person. One. I have HPV and have so far had two very painful surgeries and biopsies for the cervical cancer that HPV caused. My parents raised me right and taught me to wait until I was married to have sex. But come on, this is the real world not Mayberry. Things happen and plans change. And if you can protect your children from having to have chunks of flesh burned out from the inside their of uterus while they are laying there awake (and yes thats how it works), wouldn't you do something to prevent it? I wish this vaccine had come around earlier. This is not a moral debate. Its medical. It is not a conspiracy or scam by drug companies to push people to use their product. It is real. And it will infect an entire generation of young people if we don't do something to stop it. I'm so tired of hearing people say that this a woman's disease and their son shouldn't have to get a vaccine. Who do you think I got it from? Somebody's son! A boy! Males carry this junk and pass it along to women for it to its job. Vaccinate them all as far as I'm concerned!
You can teach children that fornication is wrong and that they should wait until marriage but the odds of them actually following through with waiting is very low. My mom always made it clear to me that i should wait until marriage and although i waited until i was 19, I was not married. And I did contract HPV and was told it was possibly cancerous which scared the hell out of me, but luckly my body shed the cells after i gave birth to my daughter. I think abstninence should def. be taught in school but safe sex should be taught as well. Maybe that's why 1 in 4 girls have an STD by 14... too many schools are teaching absintence only and it's obvious many kids just aren't listening. Personally, the vaccine is too new and I refuse to get it. As a parent, even if my children were old enough, i would wait it out for a couple more years b/c rushing into something that many of us don't know too much about doesn't seem too smart.
A few of you have asked if the vaccine can be used to prevent cancer in HPV carrier females - the answer is no. I also am a 30 year old female who did not believe in sex until marriage. I got engaged and consented...I am happily married, but have HPV. I was 25 when I found out, and fought to get the vaccine in hopes of staving off a cancer risk. I went to 4 different doctors - none would give me the series because I was too old, and there was no evidence that it prevented cancer in people already infected. I am also a teacher, and will burst all you parent's bubbles and tell you that ABSTINENCE DOES NOT WORK with many teens. They will consider anything short of actualy sexual intercouse 'not sex'... which still leave them open to being exposed to STD's through oral and anal sex. When my child is old enough, I will most certainly get the vaccine becuase I now that you can never be too safe when it comes to this type of thing... you can love and trust your kids until they're adults, and they can 'save' themselves utill marriage. Unfortunately, many people that have HPV don't know (especially males), and can spread it even when they show no symptoms. BE CAREFUL, and give your kids every advantage you can.
I was actually involved in a large nationwide study on HPV in men, and I am all for the vaccine. Of course the vaccine is still young, which means that you should research the current findings your self and make the choice at your discretion.

I was watching the video clip on the number of teenagers that are estimated to have an STD in the US right now, and I wanted to know, with such a small sample size, where the study was done? And do they have any information on the sex-ed classes that are being taught in the local schools of those areas? Does anyone have this info? I think a more comprehensive study that could play a large part in decission making on vaccines such as this would include data that shows a correlation between areas that teach abstinence only in schools, versus sex-ed as well as where the HPV vaccine is more widely used.

The fact of the matter is, no matter what you teach your kids, teenagers don't like to listen to their parents or authority figures. And we should all know this because we all used to be one. Just ask yourself what is safer for your children? Expecting them to do what MOST teenagers don't and completely abstain from all sexual activity? or teach them responsibility and vaccinate them?
As a college male, I find this news very encouraging. I think that it would indeed be far-reaching of the government to force individuals to be vaccinated; however, I also believe it would be an absolute travesty to have the vaccine never enter the market. My girlfriend has a strain of HPV and has to undergo painful tests and biopsies periodically as a result. If there was a chance for me to eliminate the possibility of causing someone that kind of pain and distress, I think it would be inhumane of me not to get vaccinated.

What is also interesting is that they have developed a vaccine for a disease which they cannot currently test men for. How would one know if the vaccine would even help them?
As a clinical research associate in gynecologic oncology at a large research university, I am deeply interested in this issue. Specifically, I manage clinical drug trials for a living; therefore, I am well aware of the way in which trials and pharmaceutical companies work.

First of all, understand that all pharmaceutical companies are businesses first and for most. When a new drug or vaccine is introduced for FDA approval it will only be made by that one company due to the patents that are ALWAYS in place. GlaxoSmithKline is also developing a HPV vaccine. It will only protect against 2 types of HPV (16 and 18) where as, Gardasil protects against strains 6, 11, 16, and 18. Stains 6 and 11 are considered low-risk strains, but can still case warts. They also are less likely to lead to cancer. Strains 16 and 18 are considered high-risk types and often lead to precancerous and cancerous lesions.

I was particularly wary of this vaccine when I first heard of it. Although after reviewing many academic sources, I myself have received the series of injections. I feel it necessary to further clarify this vaccine. Gardasil is not a live virus like the flu or small pox vaccines. It is a protein blocker. Many of us take other protein blockers on a daily basis for numerous other reasons. For instance if you take just about any cardiac medication, you are taking some sort of protein blocker. Also, by not being a form of live virus, there will not be the side effects often associated with typical vaccines. By having this vaccine you are in no way being injected with any sort of HPV. The clinical trial associated with this vaccine has been underway for over five years now. Typically, this is an appropriate time frame for a trial, especially considering that the pharmaceutical company must first prove that the vaccine is effective in an animal prior to beginning clinical trials.

I hope this is helpful for you and I strongly encourage everyone to have themselves as well as their children, both girls and boys, vaccinated.
If only science could vaccinate against the embaressment surrounding HPV!! Of course boys should be vaccinated too. Beats soaking in a vinegar laced towel, before having a doctor look at, uh, you know, well, you know, which HPV is diagnosed in men. A straight-up shot? Pretty darn easy, by comparison!!
As citizens who pay taxes and contribute to society, males should not be discriminated against in being given the vaccine. This is not only for the protection against cervical cancer in future female partners, but also in future male partners. We have to ask, is the "female only" vaccination program actually discriminatory against gay men? The only way to ensure the healthiest population, everyone, regardless of gender, should be administered the HPV vaccine.
This study: reports that one fifth (18%) of all teenage girls have already been infected with HPV. As the cohort gets older, that proportion will of course continue to rise. That means that all these infected women are at risk of developing cancer at some later stage in their lives: NOT when they're teenagers experimenting with adult behaviour, but when they've moved on to being wives, mothers, caretakers, employees, productive adult members of our society. Do I want my grandkids to be orphaned? Of course not. Vaccination of both boys and girls is a no-brainer. Far from being some sort of male altruism, each person's steps to societal health reflect his or her moral, social and personal responsibility.
I would tonights news flash by CNN bring boys into the spotlight today, while the girls are being blamed for carrying the virus alone. This study being publicized here in your article is what I have been waiting to see be publicized. I have believed there is a huge liability on the part of of boys. Girls don't get it alone! Transparent reporting is crucial to highlighting both sexes have responsibilities to protect themseleves. It is an unfair public burden and stigma placed young girls. The media is painting girls as dirty and at fault. Both sexes should be eligible to get the HPV vaccines. I have been aware for years of the double standard in protecting the boys from responsiblity in this STD. Boys should be immediately included in the debate for vaccination also. This study including boys should have been done years ago. Shame on the medical community. Thank you for bringing this story to light!
I would definitely would have my son get vaccinate for HPV and any other vaccine that is available for STD. Its not guaranteed that he will not get infected without it. I as a parent, can't say he is sexually active. But we as parents can't be in denial either.
I agree 100% with the idea that young men need to get the vaccine as well. I'm so glad that young women are getting the vaccine. There are so many diseases and viruses floating around in this world and we need to take ALL the steps to try and prevent as many as we can. I also agree that men should have their part of responsibility when it comes to protecting against pregnancy and diseases. Yes it would be great if young men and women were not having sex but since there is no guarantee that they won't, lets at least protect them when we can.
I'm a 27 year old married woman and I've only had sex with one other husband. He had multiple partners and contracted HPV. He turned around and gave it to me. THANKFULLY, my strain was not one that causes cancer. I've had to endure the terrible fear of finding out your first PAP EVER was "abnormal", of being told you have to have a biopsy of your cervix and then the slow and painful process of waiting to find out if you are going to die.

We protect our children against all sorts of awful diseases: measels, polio, TB. If there is the possibility of preventing ONE girl from having to go through that...then I'm all for it.

If Gardisil had been available for my husband, he wouldn't have given me the virus and I wouldn't have had to go through all that fear and anxiety. My mother is STILL angery at my husband for making me sick.

VACCINATING YOUR CHILD DOES NOT GIVE THEM PERMISSION TO HAVE SEX! Your child is going to be influenced by the media, her/his friends, and other teens/children her/his age. Yes, children are having sex younger and younger. They are also drinking younger and experimenting with drugs younger. The best thing we can do is educate and stop it with the mystery. What's the first thing your kid does when you tell them not to do something? They try to do it. They are pushing the boundries...trying to find themselves, trying to find out what the big deal is. They want so desperately to be adults. We need to be proactive in our education about the risks and dangers, but we also need to teach responsibility! If stuff does go too far and your kid does have sex...most times they don't know what to do and they are TERRIFIED to come to you, the parent, for fear of anger and punishment.

Sex happens. Preventing your child from getting sick is what a parent is supposed to do. Sex before marriage isn't amoral. Keeping our kids in danger is.
I think it is a fantastic idea. If it doesn't harm either gender, there is no reason why males shouldn't be vaccinated either. While the drug is still in it's early stages, it is a great idea. It can teach them responsibility. Why should females always have to be the ones taking the pills, using the patches, worrying about getting pregnant?
No matter what parents teach or want to believe about their kids, sex is always going to be there. Kids are surrounded by it from their friends to the television they watch. Parents will never truly know if their kids are staying away from sex so it is good to make sure they are safe if they do it. Most kids don't even know what they are getting immunized for anyway so it doesn't have to be advertised that it is to make sex safer from a virus.
YES!!! everyone, male or female, should get the vaccine at a young age!!!
Gardasil is all about $ rather than profits. This vax, with its commercials for "one less" misleads parents into thinking their daughters will never get cervical cancer. Utterly false! Not every woman will get HPV, every woman who does won't get cancer, the vax only protects against a few strains of HPV and HPV IS NOT THE ONLY CAUSE OF CERVICAL CANCER. You can never get HPV and still get cervical cancer! How many women will avoid yearly exams because they think they're safe??? And finally...we were told this vax offered lifetime protection. Now we know that's not true. How many women will get a booster every year? THis is about money, not lives.
I am a head and neck cancer specialist who routinely sees patients who have HPV induced oral cancer. In my practice the largest percentage of these patients are men, and most have no other risk factors for head and neck cancer (ie nonsmokers) They also tend to be much younger than traditional head and neck cancer patients. There is absolutely a role for vaccinating boys. They are ultimately as at risk for both carrying, transmitting, and contracting a preventable malignancy. Very little attention has been placed on the noncervical cancer consequences of HPV. Because of the limited recommendation to vaccinate women, most of my patients who have families and inquire about their children/sons getting vaccinated must pay for the vaccination out of pocket instead of it being a covered preventable care service by their insurance company, as it would be if their daughters were being vaccinated. Ignoring the preventative health risk to men leads to discriminatory issues of access and financing of care for half the population which is affected by disease.
The problem with America is too many extremist. Point blank the urge to have sex is far more stronger then the urge not to because Dad/Mom said so. The truth is if we educate our teenagers that sex is natural. That it is done with a person that cares about you reguardless if your 15 or 30 yrs old, then this is how you protect yourself. Let us not deny that we are sexual being, just that there is a right reason to have sex and a wrong reason to do it. And no you don't have to be married. Give your teenager the option and they will surprise you.
Someone below seems to doubt the HPV causes cervical cancer: "And has anyone noted that all the ads and hype say that HPV "MAY CAUSE" cervical cancer."

Umm - that's because you can have the virus and it MAY NOT lead to cancer. Most sexually active adults have HPV, but usually it is a benign condition. However, certain types like HPV16 and 18 can lead to cervical cancer if lefted untreated over time for various reasons. So, umm, yeah HPV DOES cause cancer, ok?! Sheesh.

I feel sorry for kids whose parents are led down such erroneous paths of thinking. Hopefully if you have daughters and won't let them have the HPV vaccine even though the CDC recommends it - you at least encourage them to get regular Paps when they do become sexually active. Because by then, it likely will be too late for them to get the vaccine since HPV is so prevalent. They could still get it...but ideally it's to be given before any sexual contact.

Also, don't people realize all their kids have already gotten the hepatitis B vaccine? That used to be largely sexually transmitted too, and yet you don't hear any parents crying about that one. Because of widespread vaccination, we've helped to drastically reduce incidence of hepatitis B infection.
I personally do not understand why everyone thinks that they need a vaccine for a disease that is completely preventable without it. If we as mothers quit working to pay for excess toys for our kids and ourselves and stay hoome and teach values and morals to our kids, they may listen. If we lead by example and lend a listening ear then we can prevent premarital sex all together. If people don't have sex before they are married then stds don't become a problem. As far as I am concerned my two girls will not be getting this needless vaccine. America and the world for that matter let's all grow up and be responsible.
Even though I don't yet have children this is a talk my husband and I have had multiple times.

Being a scientist I am concerned about the current studies. In my experience, these "new and great" ideas typically have a drawback. I would like to see a study of the affects of this vaccine on the reproductive system. It wouldn't be the first time that a medicine/vaccine has been given that appears fine at first but then has hidden consequences. As a result, I will probably not vaccinate my daughter(s) until further evidence is out regarding the results 10-20 years out from the vaccine. Not that I would keep my children from this "new" "great" "cure", but rather want to look at it logically with them and determine, if they are to be active whether they feel that they should have this vaccine. I know the doctors I have asked about this vaccine have told me not to get it myself (while I was in the typical age range of this vaccine). If it is not good for me, then is it really good enough for my children.
It's a waste for boys. I would like to see how they achieve statistical significance in their study with NO WAY TO TEST for the virus in males. This information came from my urologist yesterday when I inquired about a test for HPV. Solely looking at a reduction in the incidence of genital warts will leave a huge hole in the strains of the virus that do not cause warts.
I am all for the vaccine, but I think Merck's advertising campaign is leading people to believe that HPV and Cervical Cancer are one of the most common STDs and cancers in the United States.

The Center for Disease Control says that only 1.6% of the population has the four strains that Gardasil prevents (Strains 6, 11, 16, 18).

Also, Cervical Cancer isn't even in the top 10 most common cancers. It is one of the most rare.

Lung and Bronchus Cancer 23.5%
Breast Cancer 16.9%
Other cancers 21.7%
Colon and Rectum Cancer 12.1%
Ovary Cancer 5.2%
Pancreas Cancer 5%
Lymphoma Cancer 4.4%
Leukemia 3.6%
Brain Cancer 2.3%
Mult. Myeloma Cancer 1.8%
-->Cervix Cancer 1.9%
Stomach Cancer 1.6%

As long as you know these facts, then by all means make your own educated choice.
As a 19-year-old male who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last summer, i am all for anything that prevents cancer. Cancer is NO JOKE and as soon as this vaccine is approved for men, i will be in line to get it.
Yes, both girls and boys should be vaccinated. These diseases are real and parents have to be realistic and acknowledge that their children are eventually going to have sex. Of course, sex is an issue that most parents
don't want to talk about with their children. This is why it is better to educate and prepare them with knowledge that will help them make better choices later.
I'd been wondering why they hadn't mentioned vaccinating boys. It makes sense to me, even if they are primarily carriers with fewer cancers associated with HPV.
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