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U.S. Health Officials Back HPV Vaccine for Boys
Date:10/25/2011

rfect world, immunization of all girls might be the most cost-effective way of preventing HPV disease in women," said Dr. Kenneth Bromberg, chairman of pediatrics and director of the Vaccine Research Center at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, New York City. "However, since we do not live in a perfect world, a very strong argument can be made for immunizing boys in order to prevent genital warts in males and the prevalence of HPV-related cancers in both boys and girls. The increasing awareness of the role HPV plays in other diseases, such as head and neck cancers and, possibly, heart disease, would be yet another reason to consider universal immunization."

Vaccination against HPV is pricey, with the three-shot series for the Gardasil vaccine typically costing about $390.

The vaccine has been controversial with some parents who contend it could encourage young women and men to engage in sexual relations at an early age.

HPV is widespread among men. An international study published in March in The Lancet found that half of all adult males in the United States may be infected with the virus.

More than 40 strains of HPV exist, and all are passed along by skin-to-skin contact, usually during sexual relations, according to the CDC.

The most well-known strain of HPV causes genital warts. But other strains show no obvious symptoms and clear up on their own with no medical treatment, Dr. Jean Bonhomme, an assistant professor at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, told HealthDay.

"Because it normally causes no symptoms, men and women can get it and pass it on without even knowing they have it," Bonhomme said.

Since the virus spreads through skin contact, normal protections that prevent the spread of disease through body fluids won't work, Bonhomme said.

"Diseases like herpes and HPV cannot be completely prevented by condoms because they are both spread by contact with skin," Bonhomme said. "If the virus com
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