Should Guys Get the HPV Vaccine?


It seems that the facts tell us they should.

” Roughly half of adult males in the US are infected with HPV. Some strains, passed along to women through sexual contact, can cause cervical cancer. HPV can also increase the likelihood of penile or anal cancer in men, and can cause genital warts. The FDA has already approved the vaccine for boys. But the CDC is still deliberatingover whether boys should get it. A significant decision in the process is expected at a meeting next month.there are some public health cost concerns for this, since the immediate benefit for boys isn’t as clear as for girls and the vaccine is expensive. But if the point of any vaccine is to eradicate a major health risk, vaccinating boys would actually make it far more efficient.

And vaccinating boys might also help mitigate some of the irrational stigmatizing of the vaccine. The past couple of weeks have shown how far you can get talking about government injections of little girls allegedly initiating them into sex. For better or worse, there’s hardly the same societal concern for boys.

Dr. Rodney Willoughby of the American Academy of Pediatrics told The Huffington Post, “Measles used to kill one out of 150 kids. Getting rid of measles, getting rid of polio, those rank up there among some of the major medical advances of the 20th century. Likewise, HPV is a highly fatal virus that kills one out of a thousand people, so why wouldn’t you get rid of it if you can?” Of the past few weeks of Bachmann and Santorum politicking around the vaccine, he said, “There are direct, measurable consequences to this uptake: It means only 35 percent of the current birth cohort will be protected from a cancer that will kill one in 1,000 of them, and that’s just a shame.”


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Categories: Health, Medicine, Science, Technology


Digital and Comms nerd working in an INGO. PhD researcher (technology / gender / International development / fragile and conflict affected states / South Sudan). Bibliophile. Writer. Musician. Views my own.

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10 Comments on “Should Guys Get the HPV Vaccine?”

  1. September 30, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Men definitely need to get the HPV vaccine. I don’t think this is a gender issue either: some women might say, “Why is HPV a woman’s problem? Don’t men spread it to women?” but men could just as easily say, “Why so much concern about women’s health when it’s killing men too? Aren’t our lives important?”

    The real issue is government neglect and incompetence. Immunising only half the population? As if that’s going to wipe out a disease. Sure, it means the immunisation program is half the cost, but it’s also means a lot of money was wasted because the program will fail. Did these people ever to go school and you know, learn anything about diseases? This bungle is proof our leaders are stupid and that we deserve better leadership.

    • October 1, 2011 at 2:49 am #

      Before reading this article, I thought men were carriers without it turning into a significant health risk for men except in the rarest of cases. Surprised that the medical body didn’t include men in the vaccination program in the first place. Is that supposed to make the government seem sensitive to female health or something? Or as the article alludes, is it some sort of initiation of girls into sex? I’m genuinely confused: I don’t think it was a ‘bungle’ at all.

      • October 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

        Nothing about their policy made any sense. They only gave the vaccine to younger women on the assumption that older women won’t have any more sex… See, apparently women stop having sex with other men after the age of 30… looks like the Tony Abbott’s of the country are trying to subtlety scare women into being chaste.

        So the policy simultaneously neglects women and men in different ways: we don’t care if men die from it, but we’re worried women might have sex with other men after the age of thirty. Oh and because we only vaccinated a small proportion of the population HPV will be here for a long time to come anyway. It’s offensive and stupid any which way one looks at it.

        It’s moments like this I’m glad we have a free press, how knows how many government fuck-ups like this actually happen every day but they try their hardest to cover them up instead of focusing on running this country responsibly.

  2. Anonymous
    October 2, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    Good discussion. As a professional in the pharmacy industry I feel the HPV vacc should be given equally to both male and female. Eradicating any kind of disease should be a number one priority in any country and all communities. It should have been given free in all schools when it was first instigated by the government. Possibly they saw it as a money making venture to fill their pockets somewhere down the track,by only giving it to the girls first. I totally agree with Andrew and Jason just another BUNGLE. Mens health is certainly important and has been far too neglected. When a sexually transmitted disease of any kind is on the agender of the govt, involve both side for consideration and discussion. Chez,Sydney

  3. James Hill
    October 5, 2011 at 6:21 pm #

    Are the risks for cancer associated with HPV more likely for women than men? Are men more likely to already have HPV? Surely there’s a reason men weren’t included in the first round of vaccination.

    • October 5, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

      According to ABC News Radio the reason was that they didn’t know about the risk to men from HPV at the time the vaccine was developed. However, this still doesn’t let them off the hook because they weren’t immunising all women and they always knew the men were carriers. It was a basic failure to understand how immunity and vaccines work.

  4. Anonymous
    October 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    I feel another reason why the Vacc for HPV was handled poorly, had to do with the fact that it was very new in this area and many many women and girls did not have enough information to go on. I had a lot of feedback from customers very concerned with the long term problems there maybe with a vaccine like this, untested ground for a lot of people is very worrying and influences them strongly to have or not to have the immunising done if at all.Much more info,I feel must be given to the community before such vaccinations are introduced. Open health forums are a great idea in my mind, they could be held in local hospitals or venues so doctors in the specific field of expertise could dispell all the myths and answers all the questions. Chez,Sydney

  5. Anonymous
    July 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    Im glad to see the Govt of the day have decided to vaccinate boys with Gardasil.

    Back when this discussion first appeared with Intentious, most comments favoured boys being included, finally the penny has dropped with the powers to be and vaccinations will take place. Better late than never or maybe the just discovered Intentious.


    • July 16, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      Would be good to do a positive follow-up piece!


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