Fact of life, most of the burden when it comes to sexual health falls on the woman. Although it has been four years since the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine was approved for use in young men, the preventive measure is still being targeted largely toward girls.
Never mind that HPV-related cancers are on the rise — including cancers of the esophagus and anus.
In February of last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an official statement explicitly recommending HPV vaccination for boys 11 to 12 years old and catch-up vaccination for those 13 to 21, and the New York Times reported on data showing that roughly 1 in 15 Americans are infected with oral HPV, and that the disease is especially common among men.
So why is the focus mainly on girls?
However a new study is showing that the tide might be turning. Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) found that low-income and minority parents/guardians were receptive toward vaccinating boys against HPV as their awareness about the severe consequences of being exposed to HPV grew.
According to the study’s lead author, Rebecca Perkins, MD, MSc, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at BUSM:
“This study indicates that most parents would accept HPV vaccination for their sons just as readily as for daughters. Future research should explore the effects of the 2012 recommendations for routine vaccination for males on parental attitudes and uptake of HPV vaccination among both sexes.”
With the number of minorities infected with sexually transmitted diseases on the a steady incline, it’s time that society really push the importance of sexual health on both our young girls and boys. Hopefully this new research and attitude towards HPV vaccines for boys is a sign of a positive shift.