While public health officials have recommended that all girls between the ages of0 9-26 be vaccinated with Gardasil to prevent cervical cancer since 2006, a 13-0 vote yesterday by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices was in favor of having boys 13-21 vaccinated as well.
According to the CDC, approximately 75-80% of all men and women become infected with the humanpapilloma virus (HPV) at sometime during their lives, although most don’t develop symptoms or get sick. However, some infections do lead to genital warts as well cervical cancer in women and anal cancer in gay men, as well as cancer of the throat from exposure during oral sex. (see http://knotmove.com/wellness-in-hartford/hpv-linked-to-throat-cancers).
Despite this, many parents have resisted having their children vaccinated. In fact the CDC reports that only 49% of adolescent girls have gotten at least the first of the three HPV shots, with only about a third receiving all three doses by 2010.
Selling the idea to parents of boys will be even harder, even if it is meant as an added protection for unvaccinated girls during sex.
In fact, “preventing a cancer that’s primarily associated with gay men may not be much of a selling point, said Dr. Ranit Mishori, a family practice doctor in Washington, D.C. and an assistant professor at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. “Some parents may say “‘Why are you vaccinating my son against anal cancer? He’s not gay!”
In addition, many conservative groups argue the vaccine could promote promiscuous behavior, while an AP report showed that a survey of 600 pediatricians last year found that nearly 70% percent of doctors thought families “would consider vaccination of their boys as unnecessary.”
Despite this, Dr. Anne Schuchat, a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention administrator who oversees the agency’s immunization programs stated that she considered the vote to be a “milestone in the national fight against cancer.
Readers interested in learning more about any of the cancers mentioned above can contact the American Cancer Society, 538 Preston Ave, P.O. Box 1004, Meriden, CT 06450-1004 203 379-4700 or 800 896-8864
For a related articles see http://knotmove.com/wellness-in-hartford/pap-smears-still-best-way-to-dectect-cervical-cancer?CID=examiner_alerts_article http://knotmove.com/wellness-in-hartford/80-of-us-teen-boys-are-using-condoms-during-1st-sex?CID=examiner_alerts_article