HPV Vaccine For Boys Too, Imagine That
This is good news. (to be taken literally)
CNN reports that an FDA panel voted in favor of approving the use of the HPV vaccine in boys ages 7 to 26 years:
A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee voted Wednesday to recommend that the vaccine be made available to boys and young men aged 9 to 26 for protection against genital warts caused by HPV.
With the current FDA regulations allowing the use of this effective vaccine only in girls and women, comes the inference that women are responsible for HPV. The vaccine comes with risks, as do all vaccines, that women have had to accept in order to protect themselves and by extent, others, from dangerous forms of cancer and genital warts. If the FDA approves the use of Gardasil for boys and men, the responsibility for STI/STD prevention and sexual health is placed equally upon all parties having sex, not just us women.
What is HPV and what does the vaccine do?
The vaccine protects against four types of HPV, and two of those are believed to be responsible for 70 percent of cervical and anal cancers, and HPV-associated penile and throat-and-neck cancers. The other two cause 90 percent of genital warts cases, researchers say.
At Wednesday's advisory committee meeting, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., maker of Gardasil, presented data from three clinical trials that the company claims supports broadening the distribution of the vaccine to include males. The trials included more than 5,400 boys and men from six continents and 23 countries.
According to Anna Giuliano, an independent scientist at Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida, and the trials' principal investigator, "The data clearly demonstrates that there was a benefit to men in receiving Gardasil. Overall, we saw a 90 percent reduction in disease -- genital warts and pre-cancerous lesions -- caused by HPV in men and an 89 percent reduction in genital warts incidence.
"Essentially, we have a really fantastic opportunity to extend the benefit of the vaccine to men," Giuliano said. "This is a sexually transmitted infection; if we can reduce infection and related diseases in men, we have the potential to have a much broader public health impact by reducing the overall burden of infection and disease in the community at large."
Essentially, this is excellent news.