Panel Recommends Boys Get HPV Vaccine Too

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A government panel has recommended that young boys receive the controversial human papilloma virus vaccine currently given to girls to prevent cervical cancer.

The HPV vaccine is expensive and hasn't been well-received after it was recommended that girls as young as 11 get the vaccine.

The vaccination is meant to prevent diseases connected to sexual activity. For males, the vaccine is meant to prevent genital warts and anal cancer.

Doctors added that vaccinating 11 and 12-year-old boys could also help prevent the spread of the sexually transmitted disease to girls.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices made the recommendation Tuesday. Health officials usually piggy back off the committee and ask doctors and parents to follow the advice.

Many doctors admit it will be another tough sell.

Only 49 percent of adolescent girls have received at least the first of the recommended three HPV shots, which began five years ago. Only a third had gotten all three doses by last year.

Some 50 to 80 percent of men and women are infected with HPV during their lifetimes, although most infections clear without developing symptoms or illness, according to the CDC.

There are two vaccines against HPV, but Tuesday's recommendation applies only to Merck & Co.'s Gardasil, which costs $130 a dose.

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