Should Boys Be Vaccinated For HPV?

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gardasil for men
The FDA gives the green light, but is it cost effective to give men Gardasil?

Should boys be vaccinated against HPV? This is the new hot button question after the Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil use in men last week. The New York Times recently reported that advisory groups recommended boys between the ages of 9 and 25 soldier into doctor's offices and get injected with the costly, but effective, shot. Sex Does A Body Good

Gardasil, on the market since 2006, was previously just recommended for women as it protects against two strains of HPV that if undetected can lead to 90 percent of cervical cancer cases. While the shot prevents genital warts in guys, some health officials say the shot is unnecessary. While the warts may not have long-term consequences, some argue the STD costs about three doctor visits to cure (not to mention the cost of curing cervical cancer). So certainly a prevention shot might slash future costs. Health officials are pretty stubborn that injecting men would be wasteful, however.

As Times reports:

A clinical trial of about 4,000 young men, sponsored by Merck, reported that the vaccine prevented 89 percent of genital warts.

But experts at the vaccine advisory committee meeting debated whether it was appropriate and cost-effective to vaccinate boys for a problem that can be embarrassing and uncomfortable but is not life-threatening.

Harrell W. Chesson, a health economist at the disease control centers, said that to reduce HPV, it would be more cost-effective to increase vaccination among girls than among boys.

But should all the burden of reducing the STD be on women? Sure HPV is more harmful to ladies, but as Slate.com points out:

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Boys don't have to get vaccinated for the same reason they don't have to wash dishes, do laundry, buy birth control, or think about other people in general: Girls will do it for them.

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