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Boys & HPV Vaccine: March 9, 2012

Three-year-old Adam Brotheim is the apple of his father’s eye.

“Only child and spoiled as can be,” says Josh Brotheim.

His parents would do just about anything to keep him safe. In 2006 the HPV vaccine was recommended for young girls. In February of 2012, it was extended to boys.

“I would consider it but I would definitely have to do my research, see if there’s any side effects or anything like that,” says Josh.

Parents were encouraged to get their daughters vaccinated because it believed to be the most effective way to prevent cervical cancer.

“It was initially thought that as long you vaccinate the women that you would be able to cut off the transmission cascade. But newer studies show that if you can vaccinate both sexes that you’ll be able to cut the disease process off sooner,” says Dr. Kevin Fleishman, a obstetrician/gynecologist on Lee Memorial Health System’s medical staff.

These new studies found several cancers thought to be caused by HPV are on the rise and that men are three times more likely to carry certain strains. Making it clear this is not a feminine problem but a public health problem.

“Absolutely, more and more cancers have been shown to be associated with the HPV virus. In addition to cervical cancer, other cancers are associated with the virus as well as anal cancer and certain oral cancers,” says Dr. Fleishman.

Children between 9 and 12 get the best response to the vaccine and side effects are minimal. In the end, it falls to parents to make a choice for their child.

“If there was proof to show that it would help, then yes. You definitely want to keep your son or daughter safe,” says Josh.

Now federal guidelines changed from ‘could’ get to ‘should’ get the HPV vaccine.