MONDAY, Feb. 27 (HealthDay News) -- The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday renewed its call that all boys ages 11 and 12 receive the three-dose vaccine for the human papillomavirus (HPV).
The HPV vaccine has been available and recommended for girls and young women since 2006, because it's highly effective at preventing cervical cancer. Since then, other cancers thought to be caused by HPV have increased, 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," Dr. Michael Brady, chairman of the academy's Committee on Infectious Diseases, told HealthDay.
"Currently, our approach isn't effective from a public health perspective since males are also participants in the transmission of HPV. If we include both girls and boys, we could have a potential impact on HPV transmission," added Brady, also physician-in-chief at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
The new guidelines, published online Feb. 27 in the journal Pediatrics, mirror a recommendation released last October by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
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 giving it in the preteen years of 11 or 12.
"I understand most parents aren't interested in hearing about their children being sexually active, but
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