7 February 2011
Study confirms HPV vaccine's effectiveness for boys
by George Atkinson
A new multi-center study has found that the vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) can prevent 90 percent of genital warts in men. The new study provides the first reported results from men using the HPV vaccine. Initial data from this study catalyzed the FDA's decision to approve the vaccine for boys in 2009.
Reporting their results in the New England Journal of Medicine, the researchers explain that infection and diseases caused by HPV are common in men. These include genital warts, which are one of the leading sexually transmitted diseases for which treatment is sought nationwide. Experts estimate that half of all sexually active Americans will get HPV at some point in their lives.
"This is an exciting development in the STD world," said researcher Joel Palefsky, from the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Institute (Tampa). "It shows that if we vaccinate males early enough, we should be able to prevent most cases of external genital warts in this population."
While warts are often considered an annoyance, rather than a life-threatening disease such as cervical cancer, Palefsky noted that warts are a common problem in young people and are often associated with depression, social stigma and loss of self-esteem.
Vaccinating boys should also help prevent HPV transmission to women, as well as transmission from men to men and help reduce the incidence of the virus throughout the general population. This could be particularly significant, Palefsky noted, since only 30 to 40 percent of teenage girls in the U.S. have received even one of the three recommended doses of the vaccine.
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Source: The University of California, San Francisco