February 27, 2012
By Yessenia Anderson
MEDFORD, Ore. — A vaccine that was once solely designed for girls and young women is now being recommended for boys.
The Center For Disease Control And Prevention kicked off this new recommendation and now the American Academy Of Pediatrics is jumping on board. Both say the HPV vaccine can have significant benefits for men as well.
HPV has long since been associated as the root of cervical cancer in women, but health problems in connection to this virus do not end there. Health officials say the medical world knew it was predominantly a problem with women and so the focus went there; but the fact is the virus is passed from person to person through sexual contact.
The vaccine is being recommended for children of both sexes as early as nine years old.
“This is a serious disease that can be vaccine-prevented and that’s the reason that we would like to target young children before they’re sexually active” Jim Shames, Medical Director at Jackson County Health & Human Services.
Maggie Groves says she was faced with this decision with her daughter and says it was both health issue and a moral dilemma.
“Is this me saying, ‘okay I know you are going to be sexually active,’” says Groves.
Recalling the loss of her best friend to cervical cancer, Groves weighed the reality.
“It’s a big huge issue, but then you think what if she did end up getting the virus?”
Groves decided to get her daughter vaccinated and says she would do the same for a son if she had one – encouraging the message it could send.
The CDC says at least 50% of sexually active people will have genital HPV at some time in their lives. The CDC estimates about 7,000 HPV-associated cancers in the U.S. could be prevented in young men by the HPV vaccine each year.