Australian Boys To Receive HPV Vaccine

This year, the highly controversial and debateable “anti-cancer” vaccine will be distributed to school-aged boys in Australia.  The boys will receive the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine Gardasil, according to recent reports.

The controversial vaccine has been given to girls since 2007 to protect against HPV which is believed to cause genital warts and cervical cancer.  Although the drug was available to boys, it was not being subsidised for boys, meaning that a course of the drug was costing parents who wished to immunise their sons hundreds of dollars.

The Australian Capital Territory Government says boys aged 12-13 can receive the vaccine at school this year.

It is estimated 25 percent of all new infections will be avoided by giving the vaccine to boys.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says boys can receive the vaccine free of charge at school this year.

“The evidence is very clear that the HPV vaccine certainly protects you against very nasty cancers,” she said.

Cancers like cervical cancer, but there’s also evidence that it’s important for boys, as well.”

HPV is a virus from the papillomavirus family that is capable of infecting humans. HPV can cause warts, or lead to cancers related to the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, oropharynx and anus.

The HPV vaccine prevents infection and there are currently two types on the market: Gardasil and Cervarix.

HPV for men is as common as it is for women. HPV for men can cause genital cancers and in extreme cases lead to cancers of the anus or penis. Preventing HPV infection in men and reducing the risk of cancer associated with HPV will start with implementation of the HPV shot for boys.

The HPV vaccine protects against four important genotypes of the human papillomavirus.

The decision to make the HPV vaccine available for boys came after the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee’s recommendation of the vaccination program after a review of its cost effectiveness.

Australian Health Minister Tanya Plibersek says, “Every parent wants their child to be healthy and that is why the Australian Government is delivering the best protection we have against HPV related cancer through this vaccine.”

“By building on Australia’s world-class immunization program, we’re stopping preventable HPV related disease and cancers, and that makes a difference to the quality of life of our families.”

“Already the HPV vaccine has had an impact – significantly reducing the number of lesions that lead to cervical cancer amongst women in the vaccinated age group.”

HPV, which causes genital warts but is often symptomless, is so common and virulent that 80 percent of people will contract a strain of it during their lifetime, and gay men are at much greater risk than heterosexual men of developing oral and anal cancers caused by the virus.

It is expected that 87,000 boys will be immunized in the program’s first four years.  The program is expected to cost $21.1 million over the four years and will include an information campaign, a vaccine register and monitoring of adverse reactions.

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