Vaccinating girls, not boys, against HPV is best bet

Los Angeles Times

October 8, 2009 |  4:05 pm

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Harvard University researchers have found that public health authorities would do better to extend the vaccination of adolescent girls against human papillomavirus (HPV) than to launch a campaign to get boys and young men vaccinated as well. The study, published in the British Medical Journal, comes as the Food and Drug Administration considers a proposal from Merck, the makers of the HPV vaccine Gardasil, to approve the vaccine for boys between the ages of nine and 15.

Two professors of health decision science considered the cost of two public health campaigns and compared their effectiveness in reducing HPV-related diseases: one would focus on extending HPV vaccination in girls and women nine to 26 years old to three-quarters of the U.S. population; the other would focus on girls and boys nine to 26. In driving down HPV-related cancers and a disease called recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, focusing on girls only won the contest handily, providing far more bang for the buck than routinely giving boys the shot as well.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.