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Mothering › Blog Posts › HPV Vaccines for Boys?

HPV Vaccines for Boys?





On October 25, 2011, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that all 11 to 12-year-old boys get vaccinated against the human papillomavirus (HPV). According to the CDC press release, “The HPV vaccine will afford protection against certain HPV-related conditions and cancers in males, and vaccination of males with HPV may also provide indirect protection of women by reducing transmission of HPV.”


First licensed in 2006, the HPV vaccination, branded as Gardasil or Cervarix, has previously been recommended only for girls. With this new recommendation, private insurers will be able to pay for the vaccine for boys. The vaccine is expensive, costing more than $300 for the three-shot series.


The HPV vaccine has been controversial for reasons other than its cost. Parents have been reluctant to give their pre-adolescent children a vaccine to protect them from sexually transmitted disease (STD).


The HPV vaccine for boys is also controversial because its benefits are not consistent. For example, Gardisil has been shown to prevent genital warts, but only in heterosexual men. There’s no evidence that Gardisil protects homosexual men from genital warts. Similarly, Gardasil has been shown to prevent anal cancer precursors in homosexual men, however these precursors rarely progress to anal cancer in heterosexual men.


A further rationale for the male vaccine is that preventing genital warts in heterosexual men will help reduce infection in women. However, this is only so if the vaccine is efficacious for a very long time. Every vaccine has a duration of efficacy. According to the Immunization Action Coalition(IAC), the HPV vaccine lasts five years.


Diane Harper, MD


However, Diane Harper, MD, the leading international expert on HPV, says that HPV antibody titers in the blood are detectable for only two years after HPV vaccination. Regardless of whether HPV is efficacious for two or five years, a child will need an HPV booster before he or she becomes sexually active.


Even with a booster, the efficacy of the HPV vaccine is questionable. According to Harper, “The cost modeling data indicate that with 50% female vaccination, vaccinating up to 50% of boys will provide some protection for females if and only if Gardasil lasts for a lifetime of duration. This modeled prevention of disease in females by vaccinating males does not exist if Gardasil loses efficacy earlier than 20 years.” Currently less than 50% of girls have had one shot and each shot lasts just two to five years.


It will take decades for the US population to be protected by the HPV vaccine alone and we will not see a substantial decrease in cervical cancer from vaccines until 70% are fully vaccinated. Until we reach that level of HPV vaccine saturation, STD screening alone is at least as effective as STD screening with vaccines in preventing HPV infection.


Controversy over the HPV vaccine erupted in the press earlier this year when Michelle Bachmann claimed that someone had become mentally retarded in one week from the HPV vaccine. While her statement has been widely discredited, more than 18,000 reports of adverse events associated with the HPV vaccine have been made to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) since 2006, including 72 deaths.  In fact, the risk of adverse events associated with the HPV vaccine is 7 events per 100,000 vaccinated, while the risk of cervical cancer in the developed world is 3 cases per 100,000.The story of Gabby Swank, who reportedly died from complications of the HPV vaccine, is documented in the new film The Greater Goodstreaming live on mercola.com until November 5th.


Peggy O'Mara  (101 Posts)

Peggy O’Mara founded Mothering.com in 1995 and is currently its editor-in chief. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has lectured and conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League International, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four.

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Tags: ACIP, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, cancer precursors, CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Cervarix, cervical cancer, Diane Harper, Gabby Swank, Gardasil, genital warts, HPV Vaccine, Human Papillomavirus, Immunization Action Coalition, sexually transmitted disease, STD, The Greater Good, Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System





Comments (6)

"It will take decades for the US population to be protected by the HPV vaccine alone and we will not see a substantial decrease in cervical cancer from vaccines until 70% are fully vaccinated." But wouldn't that be a reason to vaccinate? So that we reach that 70% number sooner and we can start to see decreases in cervical cancer?
@MichelleZB: Except that we will injure more than twice as many girls by giving them the vaccine than would have been injured by HPV. And that's before we even look at the fact that it's not efficacious long enough to actually provide real benefit against HPV, besides that it's only efficacious against certain strains which may or may not be the ones to be a problem. But the fact that the vaccine is far more dangerous than the disease puts this in the realm of utterly ridiculous.
And if you read everything Dr Harper has to say about this vaccine in other papers you will read that there is no proof that the vaccine provides any protection AT ALL for anyone. In fact, she states that HPV may be transmitted other ways as well. The average age for being diagnosed with cervical cancer is 48....yet we are dosing up 9, 10, 11 and 12 year olds with a vaccine that in the best case lasts 5 years. PAPs are the way to go...There is something very wrong with forcing a population to get vaccinated (and therefore go through all the risks of the vaccination and possible death and permanent damage) in order to ONLY really protect another population...
Where exactly are you finding information Heather? Saying things like, "we will injure more than twice as many girls by giving them the vaccine than would have been injured by HPV" and "the fact that the vaccine is far more dangerous than the disease" without proof is inflammatory and nothing but sensationalistic propaganda.
Amy -- This looks like over twice as many girls being injured than are injured by having the vaccine to me! "18,000 reports of adverse events associated with the HPV vaccine have been made to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) since 2006, including 72 deaths. In fact, the risk of adverse events associated with the HPV vaccine is 7 events per 100,000 vaccinated, while the risk of cervical cancer in the developed world is 3 cases per 100,000." 3x2-- or 3 doubled would be 6. 7 adverse affects reported is over double or twice the amount of girls with cervical cancer. This information is from a well known reporting system! Not inflammatory as much as it is truthful. Sad but true! Further, if it doesn't make logical sense to vaccinate our girls starting at the age of 12, why on earth would it make sense to vaccinate our boys!! Or here's a thought-- be an involved parent and advocate for abstinance or at the very least safe sex-- which is NOT harmful in any way and protects against a myriad of other conditions, AND also completely protects against HPV which is afterall a sexually transmitted disease!! It completely infuriates me when people behave like sheep and blindly follow the crowd in matters of health, instead of educating themselves, and taking some responsibility for the health of their children.
my daughter got the three vaccines when she was in high school (I don't remember when it came out but I know she was still in school) She dated a young man and in all 3 years. Just sitting back and listening to her with friends etc...this particular guy was her first. When she went to the doctor and they examined her;they said that she had a mild case of HPV. She went through the pregnancy and had a beautiful baby girl in 2009 . She did go through medicaid ,she had no insurance and being over the age 18 was dropped by our insurance. Medicad paid for her birth control but not anything for her to be rechecked . Because President Obama (I think if I'm wrong sorry but THANK YOU to whoever allowed us to put her back on to age 26. Daughter made an appointment and found that it's full blown -last week they went and burnt they said everything they found, but now she still has to be watched and she could still get cervical cancer and not have anymore children. I'd like to know what now to expect and because she is over 18 I can't ask about her diagnosis sorry for the rambling on
Mothering › Blog Posts › HPV Vaccines for Boys?