Gardasil…What About the Guys?
October 26, 2009
With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the vaccine Gardasil in 2006, girls can now protect themselves against the strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause many cases of cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancer, as well as genital warts. But, what about the guys?
Recently, Gardasil was approved for boys, and an advisory panel from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), following the FDA approval, said that doctors are free to recommend the vaccine to boys. But saying that doctors are free to recommend the vaccine to boys is very different from their recommendation that all girls get the vaccine. Why are the girls pushed to receive the vaccine, but guys aren’t? Gardasil was approved for guys only to prevent genital warts, so some argue that while genital warts are uncomfortable and may be embarrassing, they’re not as significant as cancer. It’s also been argued that since oral, throat, penile and anal cancers caused by certain strains of HPV are rare in men, guys don’t need to be vaccinated. But isn’t that like saying, “Since guys who have sex with girls don’t get pregnant, they don’t need to worry about birth control”?
Some girls do or will have sex with guys, who’ve been exposed to HPV. Regardless of whether you are a guy or a girl, your sexual health is your responsibility. And if getting a vaccine can protect you and your partner from HPV-related diseases, wouldn’t you want to get it?
-Aya Iwamoto, 17, Staff Writer