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HPV Vaccine OKed for Males

Timothy Kincaid

October 27th, 2009

Hardly an anti-gay activist can keep the excitement from their voice when they breathlessly declare that Gay Men Die From Anal Cancer!! And, indeed, gay men do die from anal cancer. In fact, about 0.35% of gay men do get anal cancer (a higher rate than non-gay men) and, if not treated, some of them die.

The primary contributor to anal cancer is infection with the HPV virus, the same virus that contributes to cervical cancer in women, causes genital warts, and is linked to some rare oral cancers in straight men. HPV is very common and most sexually active adults will be infected at some point in their life.

But some day that may no longer be true.

As we told you in June, a vaccine for the virus – which the CDC has been urging to be provided to all girls – is also effective in preventing infection in boys. And now the FDA has approved the vaccine for such use. (NYTimes)

The vaccine was approved last week by the Food and Drug Administration for use in boys and men ages 9 to 26. Wednesday’s action, by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is intended to guide national policy on use of the vaccine; its recommendations are typically adopted by professional medical associations and set the standards of practice for physicians.

But it probably won’t lead to universal vaccination. After all, it would be mostly appropriate to boys who may some day engage in sex with someone of the same sex, and we aren’t so foolish as to assume that public health policy will be directed by what is beneficial to future gay citizens.

The new recommendation means, in effect, that doctors and clinics may now administer the vaccine at their discretion to boys and men ages 9 to 26, but they are not expected to offer it. Parents may consider the vaccine as an option for their sons, but some health insurers may choose not to cover the shots.

Yet this is good news. And it is important that we spread the news to gay-straight alliances and gay youth groups and to parents of kids that are a bit gender-nonconforming and even those parents who put their kids’ health above their dreams of a daughter-in-law. This simple step could possibly save a life.

And in the process remove one more bullet from the arsenal of those who attack our lives and freedoms.

Comments

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Emily K
October 27th, 2009 | LINK

Actually, parents should let their sons get the vaccine because of their “future dreams for a daughter-in-law.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that if men are vaccinated they will be less likely to pass the infection along to their female partners.

Burr
October 27th, 2009 | LINK

Right. Why should only one half of the equation bear the burden?

Lunchtime Link Love: Everything But Marriage | Scanner
October 28th, 2009 | LINK

[...] the HPV vaccine has finally been approved for young males up to the age of 26. #SharePanel { font-family:Arial, [...]

Chris McCoy
October 28th, 2009 | LINK

Emily K said:

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that if men are vaccinated they will be less likely to pass the infection along to their female partners.

You are correct. As with HIV in Africa, heterosexual women are being infected by heterosexual men.

One study cited on wikipedia says that as little as 4 different sex partners increases a college-age woman’s chance of contracting 1 of the 40 strains of HPV to 85%

The CDC indicates that male condom use can reduce the risk of infection, but to a lesser degree than other STDs, as HPV is spread by skin-to-skin contact that may include areas that are not covered/protected by a condom.

hb
October 28th, 2009 | LINK

This is good news, but um…

“causes genital wants”

Really?

fannie
October 28th, 2009 | LINK

Yes, since most women contract HPV via having sex with men, it would make sense to vaccinate boys and men as well. Unfortunately, that argument for universal vaccination will likely be as unsuccessful as arguments based in concerns about gay men’s health.

Timothy Kincaid
October 28th, 2009 | LINK

Yes, good point Emily and all.

Considering that many “good moral folk” are refusing to vaccinate their daughters because they don’t want to “encourage promiscuity”, boys should be vaccinated for that reason if no other.

parker
October 28th, 2009 | LINK

So why only ages 9-26? 27-year-olds can’t benefit from it?

Timothy Kincaid
October 28th, 2009 | LINK

hb

This is good news, but um…

“causes genital wants”

Really?

Yes, really. Although, it should be noted, that HPV includes a large number of strains and those which cause warts are not those which cause cancer.

hb
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy,

Once again,

“causes genital waNts” ?

Timothy Kincaid
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

LOL

Oh good heavens. I read what I thought I wrote even when you pointed it out.

There may be ongoing debate over what causes genital wants, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t HPV.

Thanks. I’ve corrected it.

hb
October 29th, 2009 | LINK

Timothy,

I’m pretty sure you’re right!

Thanks for the best laugh of the day, even if it wasn’t intentional.

ebohlman
October 30th, 2009 | LINK

Parker: By age 27 most people have already gotten infected, and the vaccine isn’t helpful in that case.

symptoms of anal can
November 2nd, 2009 | LINK

Cancer itself is a dangerous disease. Anal cancer is found in rare case. It affects to both male and female. Those who are consented to anal intercourse and with with depleted immune systems are more prone to this cancer. One should avoid smoking. If anyone observes symptoms of it, should consult doctor immediately.

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