When is the last time you saw a guy on a Gardasil commercial, or heard about a male getting the HPV vaccine? If you answered "never," that may soon change.
Although the HPV vaccine was approved for males in 2009, it has still mainly been marketed to and recommended for women. But just last week, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization practices voted to recommend the routine HPV vaccination of 11- and 12-year-old males. As with females, males as young as 9 or as old as 26 can be vaccinated.
Don't know much about HPV? Here are some facts:
- HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, with about 20 million people currently infected.
- HPV can turn into a more serious problem, including genital warts and cancers such as cervical, penile, anal, head, or neck. It is a leading cause of cervical cancer in women.
- HPV is most commonly spread through genital contact, usually during intercourse. It can be contracted even if the infected person does not have any signs or symptoms.
Why vaccinate your child when he or she is still, well, a child? It is recommended that kids get vaccinated in their preteen years before they become sexually active. The vaccine is administered over a six-month period in three doses, each of which costs about $120.
While we can hope our children won't be sexually active too early in life, we can also opt to take action and vaccinate them while they're still in our care. It could help protect them from some serious forms of cancer, which sounds smart to me.
Check out more info from the CDC on the HPV vaccine.
What do you think? Will you get the HPV vaccine for your son (or daughter)?