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Public Health Genomics. 2009;12(5-6):362-7. doi: 10.1159/000214926. Epub 2009 Aug 11.

The case for vaccinating boys against human papillomavirus.

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  • 1Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Vaccination policy in the case of human papillomavirus (HPV) has remained a constant source of controversy ever since Gardasil, Merck's vaccine against HPV, received US Food and Drug Administration approval in the summer of 2006. This controversy has centered on the risks and benefits of vaccinating girls and women in rich and poor nations alike. However, despite all of the attention created by this important policy question, relatively little has been focused on another key public health question: should boys be vaccinated against HPV as well? If herd immunity against the most carcinogenic strains of HPV could be more rapidly and efficiently achieved by vaccinating everyone at risk for being a carrier, it logically follows that vaccine policy should expand to include boys and men.

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