The HPV vaccine just added another potential patient to a growing list. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently recommended sexually active males receive the vaccine. They say the vaccine isn’t only for women because the virus has been linked to many types of cancers besides cervical.
“Certainly men don't have a cervix but they do have diseases that they do get from the HPV virus,” says local physician Dr. Paul Lenz.
A recent study shows that the Human Papilloma Virus is the most commonly transmitted sexual infection. More than 40 types of HPV can infect the throat, mouth and other areas of both males and females.
“If we can reduce the infection rate so you can't pass it on because you are immune,” says Lenz. “I think that would be a good start. I think the recommendation is valid and it makes sense.”
Most HPV types cause no symptoms and go away on their own. However, certain cases have been linked to not only cervical cancer in women, but oral and anal cancer in both sexes.
“I think that we need to look at a male as a part of a society and not just a singular individual,” says Dr. Lenz. “To have a single person not take a measles vaccine puts everyone at risk and I think we have to look at a more global situation.”
One of the controversies behind the vaccine is that it can cause adverse side effects, but Dr. Lenz doesn’t believe those claims are accurate and says the benefits outweigh the risks.
“We would like to get everyone vaccinated. The sooner you can reduce the incidences of HPV in the total population you will reduce the incidences in the diseases that it causes,” says Dr. Lenz. Having the opportunity to protect your loved ones and yourself. There is no rational explanation as to why you wouldn't.”
The vaccine is given through three separate shots administered over a six-month period.