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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
AUSTRALIA: Give Boys Cancer Jab as Well, Say Experts
Mark Metherell
December 20, 2011
Sydney Morning Herald (12.17.11) - Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee is recommending that all teenage boys receive the Gardasil vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV) - the cause of genital warts, most cases of cervical cancer, and some oral and anal cancers.

Vaccinating boys against HPV would cost-effective, the committee said, providing wider immunity and further reducing the risk to females. Already, Gardasil vaccinations have slashed by around one-half the number of new cervical cancer cases, which currently stands at about 700 per year. The country annually logs about 400 cases of anal or oral cancer linked to the virus.

On Dec. 16, the federal government said it would consider the committee's recommendation to offer Gardasil to boys ages 12- 13 and as a catch up for those in the 14-15 age group. The initial cost of administering the vaccine to all girls age 13 and a catch-up program for older girls was around $450 million (US $454 million) over four years. If the vaccination program for boys is approved, for logistical reasons it would not be expected to start until after next year. A Department of Health spokesperson said certain steps must be taken before a listing of Gardasil for boys is finalized, including pricing agreements and guarantees of supply.