Getting parents onboard
Some say the new recommendations are overdue.
"The HPV vaccine should have been recommended for boys at the same time it was recommended for girls," in 2006, Offit said. At that time, "We knew the vaccine prevented infection in boys," he said. "Therefore, there was every reason to believe it would also prevent cancer, because infection is a prerequisite to cancer."
Getting parents to be comfortable with the idea of a vaccine for young children that is intended to prevent a sexually transmitted disease may prove just as difficult for boys as it was for girls, Schaffner said. But he emphasized that, in order to prevent infection, vaccination needs to occur before people become sexually active.
"The plan with any vaccine is to protect against the disease before the exposure," Schaffner said. "We should not wait for people to initiate their sexuality before vaccinating them against a virus that is spread sexually," he said.
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