The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released a new recommendation that boys as young as 11 be vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, which is the most common sexually transmitted infection.
In 2006, the CDC recommended that 11-year-old girls and above be vaccinated, which caused controversy as many family advocacy and religious groups felt the vaccine would cause promiscuity and unprotected sex in young girls. Undoubtedly, the recommendation that boys should now receive the vaccine will create similar opinions, but health experts say the vaccine could protect boys from genital warts and certain cancers as well as prevent them from spreading HPV to girls.
Although the recommendation was given in 2006, only 49 percent of girls have received at least the first of three shots while only 1 percent of boys have received it since it was made available to them over two years ago. According to a study late last month, “Human Papillomavirus Type Distribution Among Heterosexual Couples”, 75.9 percent of men and 86.2 percent of women tested positive for HPV in the recent Arizona Cancer Center study. The CDC estimates between 50 and 80 percent of Americans are infected with HPV at some point in their life. Most people with the virus have no symptoms and no lasting health issues with 90 percent of HPV cases clearing up on their own.
There are many low-cost HPV testing options, which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends be performed once every three years after your first Pap test. For more information, visit thehpvtest.com.