Illinois action blog

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

HPV prevention - not just for girls anymore

Few health issues have caused so much controversy over the last few months as the HPV vaccine, which has gotten itself a nasty (and, more importantly, blatantly false) reputation on the Republican presidential campaign trail as a green light for teen sex and even as a cause of mental illness.

It’s a good thing our current government has the common sense not to buy into these ignorant claims. In particular, we want to give kudos to the CDC, whose Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted today to add the HPV vaccine to its list of recommendations for boys.
The committee chose unanimously to recommend the vaccine for boys aged 11 and 12, mirroring the same age recommendation that the CDC has in place for girls. The decision marks a step up from the CDC’s previous stance on the issue – while the vaccine has been FDA-approved for boys for some time now, today marks the first time that it will be actively promoted as opposed to simply allowed.

News from the medical world shows that the decision was long overdue. According to a study published this month, HPV is the leading cause of throat and oral cancers, both of which are on the rise. That’s on top of its links to genital warts, anal, penile and vaginal cancers, most cases of cervical cancer, and even heart disease – and the fact that HPV is the most common STI by a landslide, affecting over half of all sexually active adults at some point in their lives.

With a list like that, it's clear that the CDC’s decision couldn’t be a better one – HPV doesn’t discriminate between men and women, and neither should parents and young people who care about their health. At Planned Parenthood, we believe that prevention is the best form of health care, which is why we offer the vaccine to people of all genders at our health centers. Book an appointment today to protect yourself or your child from HPV or to talk to a health care provider about whether the vaccine is right for you.

Technorati tags: Planned Parenthood, HPV


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