Lately, there has been so much discussion over whether states should mandate vaccinations for the human papillomavirus (HPV) for girls that many people have forgotten that boys are susceptible to developing this condition as well. Recently, The New York Times reported that a federal advisory committee had recommended that 11-year-old boys begin receiving the vaccine.
“This is cancer, for Pete’s sake,” said William Schaffner, M.D, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, quoted by the news source. “A vaccine against cancer was the dream of our youth.”
What Schaffner is referring to is the fact that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this sexually transmitted disease can potentially lead to cervical, penis and anal cancer, among other forms.
Opponents of the vaccine have said that they believe it is wrong to assume that children as young as 11 are engaging in sexual activity. The cancerous effects of HPV are more commonly seen in homosexual men than heterosexual ones. The panel agreed that it would be more cost-effective to just vaccinate gay men, but it is inappropriate to make that call at such an early age.