WEDNESDAY, Feb. 1 (HealthDay News) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending that all boys between the ages of 11 and 12 receive the three-dose vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV).
That's the most significant change in the latest immunization schedules, released Wednesday by the pediatrics group. The HPV vaccine has been available and recommended for girls and young women since 2006, because it was believed that the vaccine would be most effective at preventing cervical cancer. Since then, other cancers thought to be caused by HPV have been on the increase, including anal cancer and some head and neck cancers.
"Initially, when HPV vaccines were being evaluated, there was an assumption that they would be for preventing cervical cancer and genital warts. Subsequent to that, some things have occurred that show us that providing the vaccine to both genders would be beneficial," said Dr. Michael T. Brady, chairman of the AAP's Committee on Infectious Diseases and chairman of the department of pediatrics at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
"Currently, our approach isn't effective from a public health perspective since males are also participants in the transmission of HPV," he said. "If we include both girls and boys, we could have a potential impact on HPV transmission."
The new guidelines mirror a recommendation released last October by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
The HPV virus can cause cervical, anal and some head and neck cancers, as well as genital warts, according to the CDC. The virus is transmitted though genital or oral sex, and many people who have the virus don't know they have it. To be effective, the vaccine for the virus must be given before someone is ever infected. That's why health experts recommend that the vaccine be given in the pre-t
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