HPV vaccines are not just for girls

The HPV vaccine is considered safe by the CDC

(CNN) – The HPV vaccine was first recommended for girls in 2006. Since then, infections in teen girls from human papillomavirus or HPV have gone down 56% according to the CDC. However, the vaccine is not just for girls.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States.

According to the CDC, about seventy-nine million people have it and most people never know it.

“Fortunately most of the infections go away on their own but unfortunately they can cause severe problems,” said Pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Shu.

Severe problems like cervical and head and neck cancers. However, there’s hope. Thousands of HPV cancer deaths each year may be preventable for both girls and boys.

“The HPV vaccine is important for boys as well as for girls because boys can also get cancer from the HPV virus,” said Dr. Shu.

That may translate to preventing more than nine thousand new cases of HPV related cancers in men each year.

“It’s possible to get infected with the HPV virus without having sex. I think that is one important consideration for parents,” said Dr. Shu.

The CDC recommends boys get the HPV vaccine around the age of eleven or twelve through age twenty-six. With more than 80 million doses distributed since 2006, the HPV vaccine is considered safe.

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