It was only a few short weeks ago that I wrote a post here on the Life360 blog about the HPV vaccine. You can head over here and read it now. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
OK now that you’re up to speed! I wanted to update you on some new developments regarding the HPV vaccine. These are especially important updates for those of you who asked on the blog, on Facebook and even on Twitter about the availability of this vaccine for boys. In the comments we told you that while the HPV vaccine had been approved for boys, it had not officially been “recommended” for boys. Private insurance companies do not have to pay for vaccines unless they are recommended for routine use by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Center for Disease Control and prevention. This was the case when our blog post on HPV was posted, but that has since changed.
Earlier this week the advisory committee officially recommended the HPV vaccine for boys ages 11 – 12 (as well as girls) and for men ages 13 – 21 who had not received the vaccine. The added inclusion of men 13 – 21 will be costly, but because of the dismal rate of girls receiving the vaccine the committee felt that it is worth it to try and include as many men as possible.
The HPV vaccine works best when given before the onset of sexual activity in boys and girls. And since one in five teens are having sex by the age if fifteen it becomes important to try and vaccinate kids before that age. But as one committee member pointed out, not ALL kids are having sex at the age of 13, which is why the vaccine is still being recommended to include older teens and men.
As I mentioned in my previous post, HPV infections cause about 15,000 cancers in women and 7,000 cancers in men each year. And as I asked in the last post, One in three people will get cancer. If you have a chance to protect your child from being that one, shouldn’t you?
“This is cancer, for Pete’s sake,” said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and a nonvoting member of the committee. “A vaccine against cancer was the dream of our youth.”
It still is. Talk to your doctor today about the HPV Vaccine for your boys and girls.