Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- If you have young sons, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) now says they should be getting the HPV vaccine at 11 or 12 years old. It's been recommended for adolescent girls for the last five years as a way to prevent cervical cancer.
But the vaccine doesn't come without controversy. Only about a third of young women have been fully vaccinated against the virus. The goal in recommending the shot for boys is to prevent as many as 3,000 new cases of cancer each year.
"This is a vaccination that really needs to be given to both boys and girls," Chief of Pediatric Infectious Disease at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital Dr. Leonard Weiner said.
The HPV vaccine is a first of its kind -- it prevents cancer. Up until now, it’s only been recommended for half of the population.
"When we were doing it just for girls, we were sort of attacking half the problem. HPV is a sexually transmitted virus," Dr. Weiner explained.
That's the controversial part for some. The CDC wants to treat girls and boys as young as 11 for a virus that's spread through sexual contact. Currently, less than half of the girls who are urged to get the shot have done so. But the bottom line for Dr. Weiner is that the vaccine is safe and it works.
"The truth is, it's preventing cancer, and any prevention of cancer, whether you're talking about 30, 3,000 or 30,000 cases, any prevention which can be done safely is certainly better than trying to treat it after it occurs," Dr. Weiner said.
The HPV vaccine for boys will be the same one offered to girls. Doctor Weiner says it will protect boys against some forms of cancer, just like it prevents cervical cancer in girls. And like girls, boys will have to get three shots for the vaccine to be affective.
Doctors hope the recommendation will encourage more girls to get vaccinated. And now that boys can get the shot too, doctors say that will help cover the girls who decide against it.
Cervical cancer often begins with HPV and even though it rarely leads to cancer in men, doctors believe women who are not vaccinated can transmit the virus to men.
Boys should get HPV vaccine too, panel says
October 25, 2011
ATLANTA (AP) - A government panel is recommending that young boys also get the controversial HPV shot. That's the vaccine now given to girls to prevent cervical cancer.
Doctors argue that it could protect boys against genital warts and some kinds of cancers. But they also say vaccinating 11- and 12-year old boys could also help prevent the spread of the sexually transmitted virus to girls.
The HPV vaccine has been controversial since it was recommended for girls five years ago. And only about a third of adolescent girls have been fully vaccinated against the virus.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made the recommendation Tuesday. Federal health officials usually adopt what the panel says and asks doctors and patients to follow the recommendations.
CDC expected to recommend HPV vaccine for boys
Oct. 25, 2011
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - An announcement from the Center for Disease Control is expected today regarding the controversial HPV vaccine.
The shot is already recommended for girls, but now the CDC is expected to make the same recommendation for boys.
Health officials believe the vaccine could prevent thousands of new cancer cases each year.
The vaccine has been credited with preventing cases of cervical cancer in young women.
The cancer begins as a virus and even though it rarely can lead to cancer in men, doctors believe women who are not vaccinated against it can transmit HPV to men. It’s for this reason alone that the CDC believes recommending the HPV vaccine for boys may prevent as many as 3,000 new cancer cases each year.
The vaccine is controversial since the cancer it prevents is spread through sexual contact. Less than half of the girls who are urged to get the shot have done so.