Boys should get HPV vaccine

Young boy at doctor's office

This article appeared on Galveston County Daily News. Read more here.

Q: Why should I vaccinate my son against human papillomavirus (HPV)?

A: HPV is linked to several cancers in both men and women, including cervical, anal, penile and throat cancers. Each year in the United States, there are nearly 16 thousand new cases of HPV-caused cancers diagnosed in men. The current vaccine protects against the seven most common cancer-causing types.

Screening for most HPV-related cancers is limited. While cervical cancer screening is available for women, there are currently no routine screening tests for throat or anal cancers in either males or females.

By vaccinating your son, you drastically reduce his risk of developing these potentially life-threatening cancers that occur decades later in life. An additional benefit is that the vaccine is nearly a hundred percent effective at preventing genital warts.

Q: My son is only 11 years old. Does he really need it now?

A: The HPV vaccine is recommended for 11- and 12-year-olds, but the vaccine can be given as early as nine years of age. The vaccine prevents HPV infection but does not cure an HPV infection once it occurs, so the key is to vaccinate prior to exposure.

Although the HPV types that cause cancer are mostly spread through sexual contact, they can also spread by contact with contaminated surfaces such as toilet seats or locker room benches and by kissing and sharing drinks with someone carrying the virus in their mouth.

Q: How many doses of the HPV vaccine are recommended?

A: The current recommendation is that your child get two doses spaced six to 12 months apart if the initial dose is administered before their fifteenth birthday. Individuals receiving their first dose after turning 15 require an additional dose, totaling three shots spread over six months. Everyone aged 26 and younger should receive the vaccination. For adults between 27 and 45 who have not been vaccinated, the CDC recommends discussing with their healthcare professional whether the vaccine is right for them.

The current HPV vaccine has been shown to provide long-lasting protection. Based on research on original HPV vaccines, it may be that the protection will be lifelong. Research is underway to determine the optimal number and timing of vaccine doses.

Q: Is the HPV vaccine safe?

A: HPV vaccines have undergone rigorous testing and have been shown to be safe. Hundreds of millions of doses have been given in countries around the world. Like any vaccine, it may have mild side effects, but serious side effects are extremely rare.

Overall, vaccinating your son against HPV is an important step in protecting his long-term health and well-being. It’s a proactive measure that can help prevent potentially serious health problems in the future.

Share this article:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest


You’ve got questions. That’s a good thing.

As parents, determining how best to protect our children can be overwhelming and confusing. We’re here to help.

Related Stories

About I Vaccinate

I Vaccinate provides information and tools based on real medical science and research to help Michigan parents protect their kids. Support is provided by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Franny Strong Foundation.

You’ve got questions. That’s a good thing.

As parents, determining how best to protect our children can be overwhelming and confusing. We’re here to help.

©2021 Franny Strong Foundation | All rights reserved

Add Your Heading Text Here