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Study Examines Benefits Of HPV Vaccine For Men and Boys

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The human papilloma virus, or HPV, vaccine was approved in June of 2006 for use in girls and women for the prevention of cervical cancer. For many years we had known that 70-percent of cervical cancer cases are associated with HPV.

The question has remained for many years why not give the vaccine to boys as well. According to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine, 4,000 boys and men between the ages of 16 and 26 were given either the HPV vaccine or a placebo. After three years the researchers found the vaccine reduced HPV infection by as much as 90-percent in those who were HPV negative at the start of the testing. Those in favor of vaccinating boys for HPV say that this could dramatically reduce the chances of HPV being spread by sexual activity simply because fewer would have the virus.

Those against the idea say they are not certain about the long-term protective effects of the vaccine in question whether it’s cost-effective to vaccinate so many people. They also point to the fact that the study was funded by Merck, which is the company that produces Gardasil, the leading HPV vaccine. Needless to say this is going to raise much debate.

Reported by Dr. Brian McDonough, KYW Newsradio