Revised Regulations Regarding HPV Vaccination For Young Males And Females
HPV is a notorious virus that is associated with an aggravated risk of developing different type of cancers such as, mouth and throat cancer, penile cancer, cancer of cervix, vagina, vulva and anus. According to latest statistics reported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1), more than 38,793 HPV-related cancers were reported in the United States from 2008 to 2012. Investigators discovered that the risk of developing cancer is almost 1.5 times higher in women (23,000) compared to men (15,793). In addition:
- 60% of penile cancers are associated with HPV infection.
- HPV is responsible for about 70% oropharynx cancers
- 90% anal cancers are linked to HPV malignancies in males.
HPV Vaccination – What Should You Know About It?
HPV vaccines are believed to be extremely helpful in preventing the risk of acquiring or transmitting HPV infection. Concurrently, these vaccines can also minimize the risk of HPV-related complications such as deleterious effects on human fertility & risk of cancer in some susceptible immunocompromised individuals.
In 2006, FDA approved the use of HPV vaccines only in young girls, over the age of 11 years. But according to latest recommendations released by Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it was suggested that HPV vaccine should be advised to both girls and boys. In the lieu of these recommendations, American Cancer Society has amended their HPV vaccination guidelines in accordance to CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). These amendments were made after obtaining strong supporting evidence and entails that:
- Both boys and girls aging between 11 and 12 should be vaccinated to prevent HPV linked cancers.
- According to new guidelines, HPV vaccine can also be given to a 9 year old child.
- The vaccination course involves three shots. The time interval between first two shots may range from one to two months and the last one should be given after 6 months of second shot as a booster dose.
- If a person has not been vaccinated during his childhood or did not complete the course, they can get vaccinated later in their adulthood.
- Females can get vaccinated from age 13 to 26 years while for men the age limit is 13 to 21 years.
- Although, it is suggested that men aging from 22 to 26 can also get HPV vaccinated but its efficacy won’t be same as it will be for younger males.
The American cancer society methodologically evaluated the recommendations made by ACIP and the contents and evidences were thoroughly reviewed by ACS members.
Status Of HPV Vaccination In Young US Males
The rate and compliance regarding HPV vaccination in males is fairly less when compared to females. Based on several studies, investigators proposed several reasons such as:
- Lack of awareness regarding the latest recommendations
- Efficacy/ benefits of HPV vaccine
- High concerns regarding the safety issues
It is highly recommended to speak to your physician regarding the benefits of HPV vaccination and if you or other members of your family are a likely candidate for this vaccination. Besides, you can also reduce the risk of contracting HPV infection by maintaining caution while making decisions regarding your intimate relationships (such as avoiding chance sexual encounters, practicing protection or physical barrier methods or maintaining a monogamous sexual relationship).
2. Clarke, M., Phelan-Emrick, D. F., Coutinho, F., Chou, B., & Joshu, C. E. (2015). Factors associated with HPV vaccine initiation among males aged 11-26 years attending outpatient clinics in the Baltimore Metro Area during 2012-2013. Cancer Research, 75(15 Supplement), 5591-5591.
3. Stokley, S., Jeyarajah, J., Yankey, D., Cano, M., Gee, J., Roark, J., … & Markowitz, L. (2014). Human papillomavirus vaccination coverage among adolescents, 2007-2013, and postlicensure vaccine safety monitoring, 2006-2014–United States. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report, 63(29), 620-624.