The Latest on Guys and Gardasil

By , Staff Writer
March 2, 2011

Gardasil logoTrue or false? Gardasil, the vaccine that protects people from certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV), is only for females and is ineffective in males.

False! While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that 11-and 12-year-old girls get the Gardasil vaccination, males should think about taking it too! The New England Journal of Medicine just published a study funded by Merck—the maker of Gardasil—on the effectiveness of the drug in males. The study found that Gardasil was 90-percent effective at preventing genital warts and 86-percent effective at preventing persistent HPV infections. Gardasil was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for males in 2009, but hasn’t been strongly encouraged for them.

The CDC estimates that 20 million Americans are infected with HPV. The virus usually has no symptoms, so it often goes unnoticed in the carrier. HPV usually clears the body on its own and is totally harmless. But some strains, like those the Gardasil vaccine protects against, can cause cervical, penile, anal, vaginal and vulvar cancer.

Just last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics included Gardasil in their list of recommended vaccines for boys. Guys are a vital part in stopping the spread of HPV. If guys are vaccinated, then that means fewer guys will pass the strains of the virus linked to cancer to their partners.

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