University of New Hampshire Student Newspaper
By Geoffrey Cunningham
Updated: Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S, and affects both men and women. Up until recently, the two vaccines that exist for the disease were available to women only. A few months ago, however, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention approved the use of Gardasil for men ages nine to 26, and UNH Health Services now offers the vaccine for male students on campus.
According to the CDC’s web site, HPV is so common in the U.S. that 50 percent of sexually active people will have HPV at some point in their lives. There are over 100 types of HPV, which can cause a number of medical conditions such as cervical cancer, genital warts and penile and anal cancer.
Dr. Lessa Brill, a women’s health doctor at Health Services, said that HPV is very prevalent in today’s society.
“I think of it as a marker for sexual activity,” said Brill. “If there’s going to be genital to genital contact, unless both partners haven’t had any other partners before, there’s a really good chance that there’ll be HPV around.”
Kathleen Grace-Bishop, director of Education and Promotion at Health Services, said in an email that she is happy with the new offer.
“I think that it is great that the HPV vaccine, which has now been approved for both males and females (ages 9-26) is available through Health Services,” said Grace-Bishop. “It provides access to students around an important option for females and males to help them care for themselves and their partners.”
The Gardasil vaccine involves three doses, given through shots, over a period of six months. For students who have paid the health fee, the cost of the vaccine is $151 per dose. For those students who haven’t paid the health fee, it costs $165 per dose. A student’s health insurance may cover the cost of the vaccine. UNH insurance does not cover the vaccine.
“There is also the issue of cost and whether or not insurance will cover the cost of the vaccine whether it is provided here or through a outside health care provider,” said Grace-Bishop.
Brill said that for men, HPV is implicated in 88 percent of anal cancers and 80 percent of penile cancer. But in many cases, people are not aware that they have HPV because symptoms are not visible and may not even affect them, she said.
“Most people will get it,” said Brill. “But most people will never ever know and it will never cause them any trouble.”
Well, hell’s bells….anyone following the blog articles on Gardasil with half a mind – is going to be able to discern that Merck is desperately trying to get into new markets – especially since the 26 to 47 yr old women’s market was denied last week for the second time. I also posted an article today about GSK offering Cervarix to low income women in the south. BTW – Merck’s stocks were down substantially today due to the denial of the older age group of women.
So men – are you ready – you are the new prey. What we have found out is the women with higher levels of testosterone (athletes, competitors) are the ones severely affected by Gardasil. So what does that say for men – with normally higher levels of the hormone? Beware – and be wary.
Have you noticed that these articles start out with a sales pitch? An explanation about the horrors of HPV? Nonsense – cervical cancer makes up 1% of all cancers in the U.S.