Reuters 27 Feb 2012
Boys 11 years and up should get Merck & Co’s Gardasil vaccine to protect them against HPV infections, which can cause genital warts as well as oral, penile and anal cancers, the nation’s largest group of pediatricians said Monday.
“What we are hoping will come out of this is that we can push this as a cancer vaccine,” said Dr. Michael Brady of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “We now have the ability to interrupt the transmission and the development of cancer.”
The new statement leans on recommendations released last year by U.S. vaccine advisers and updates the previous stance of the AAP, which until now had only backed routine vaccination for girls.
HPV, or human papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at least half of all sexually active people will catch genital HPV at some point.
The infection usually doesn’t cause any symptoms and goes away on its own. But certain types of the virus may cause genital warts and, rarely, cancer.
It’s estimated that HPV types 16 and 18 are responsible for 7,000 cases of cancer in men every year in the U.S. and 15,000 cases in women, most of them cervical cancers.