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AAP Recommends HPV Vaccine for Boys

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines for both girls and boys.

Previously, the vaccine was mainly associated with girls for protection against HPV types that cause cervical cancer. 

However, in October 2011, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that boys also be routinely vaccinated. AAP members reviewed the ACIP data and agreed with the recommendation.

There are over 100 types of HPV. Certain types are linked to cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, and penile cancers and genital warts. 

HPV vaccines come in two forms. The quadrivalent vaccine, called Gardasil, protects against 4 different kinds of HPV (6, 11, 16, and 18). 

The other vaccine, called Cervarix, protects against types 16 and 18 only. 

Only Gardasil has been approved for males. 

The AAP recommends that children be vaccinated around age 11 or 12, before they’ve become sexually active. However, people can still be vaccinated up to age 26. So, even if they have become infected with one type of HPV already, the vaccine can protect them from other types.

HPV vaccines are given in 3 doses spaced a few months apart. Pregnant women and people who are hypersensitive to yeast should not be vaccinated.

The vaccines do not protect against all types of HPV, so young women should still be screened for cervical cancer, even if they have been vaccinated.