The HPV Vaccine for Boys

November 13, 2018

Gardasil-9 is a vaccine that protects against infection in the human papillomavirus (HPV), an infectious organism that’s spread through sexual contact. It’s the most current version of the drug available, having replaced the initial Gardasil vaccine in May 2017. When the first Gardasil came out, it had been recommended for girls and women primarily as a means to help prevent cervical cancer, among several serious complications of HPV disease.

As researchers came to understand about HPV, it became evident the HPV vaccine not only will help to protect against cervical cancer but other cancers also, including several that affect men. What’s more, the virus is spread through sexual contact, meaning that a male who’s infected with the virus may pass it along to another male or to a female sexual partner.

For all these reasons, the recommendations for who should find the HPV vaccine have expanded to include males. If you have a pre-teen son, here’s what you ought to know more about the human papillomavirus and Gardasil-9.

HPV Infection and Boys

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 79 million people, mostly in their late teens or early 20s, are infected with HPV. There are several different strains of the virus. Not all them cause cancer and a few ultimately cause no symptoms at all. That is 1 reason vaccination is so important: It’s possible for an individual who’s unknowingly harboring HPV to pass it .

Gardasil 9 protects against nine strains of HPV that are associated with genital warts as well as cancer: types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

For example, certain types of HPV are responsible for genital warts, flesh-toned or grey growths which may be raised or flat and, as the name implies, appear on the genitals.

In men, this implies about the penis, scrotum, testicles, anus, buttocks, or thighs.  Genital warts can pop up as solitary lesions or bunch together in growths which resemble cauliflower.

In most cases, there are no major health risks associated with genital warts, but they are sometimes embarrassing and unsightly. Medical treatment is required to eliminate them (it often takes several visits).

Other strains of HPV may lead to considerably more serious health problems–especially several types of cancer. In males these comprise: 

  • Prostate cancer.  Cancer of the penis causes lumps, growths, or swelling of the suggestion. Luckily, penile cancer is rare. 
  • Oropharyngeal cancer. This mouthful of a term means cancer of the throat, mouth, tongue, and/or tonsils, is a type of head and neck cancer which could also be caused by HPV. Males are more likely than females to create HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer, although it’s not completely clear why.
  • Anal cancer may cause symptoms such as nasal itching or bleeding, pain or a feeling of fullness in the anal area, an abnormal discharge from the anus, or a change in bowel movements, such as thinning stools. 

In other words, by vaccinating your son, you may save someone else’s daughter from a possibly life threatening disease.

Giving the HPV Vaccine to Young Kids

In accordance with CDC, the perfect age for both girls and boys to obtain the HPV vaccine is around 11 or 12. It might appear odd to provide a shot designed to prevent a sexually-transmitted disease to kids that are so young. However, the vaccine is less effective men and women who have already been exposed to HPV–which is, individuals who are sexually active.

Also, the CDC reports that if the HPV vaccine is provided through the years, it produces a more robust immune reaction. For youngsters under 15 it’s given as a two-dose series, together with the initial and second shot separated by six to 12 weeks.

Individuals 15 to 26 are counseled to get three doses of the vaccine, with one to two months between the initial and second shot, and the next six months later. 

In clinical trials, Gardasil-9 has Been Proven to be safe and effective, Though It does have some possible non-serious, temporary side effects:

  • Pain, inflammation, or swelling at the injection site
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle or joint pain

And there are a number of people who should not receive the vaccine, like those that are seriously allergic to yeast or into other components in Gardasil. Your son’s physician, who will be aware of his medical history, are going to be able to inform you if there is any question about the safety of giving your kid Gardasil. 

A Word From Verywell

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. While it usually goes away by itself, it may result in genital warts (an emotionally debilitating condition) or cancer, especially reproductive, anal, and mouth/throat cancer in males, which can be potentially life-threatening.

Though there is no cure for HPV, you can be proactive and receive your kid vaccinated, shielding him (and by association, girls) as best possible.