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Agence France-Presse
US recommends routine HPV vaccination for boys

February 3, 2012

WASHINGTON, Feb 3, 2012 (AFP) - US health authorities on Friday urged all
boys age 11-12 to get a routine vaccination against the most common sexually
transmitted disease, human papillomavirus, or HPV.

Other changes as part of an annual update to US immunization schedules
included a recommended hepatitis B vaccine to the protect the livers of adults
up to age 60 who have diabetes and a vaccine against whooping cough for
pregnant women.

The updates, agreed upon by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), were
published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report of February 3.

The HPV vaccine has been approved for girls since 2006 but the CDC had not
expressly urged it for boys, though boys were included among those who could
receive it to prevent certain cancers and genital warts.

Health experts have expressed hope that if pre-teen boys and girls are both
encouraged to get the vaccine, the rate of infection will decrease in the
general population.

About half of all sexually active adults will get HPV in their lifetime.
There are more than 100 types of HPV, and most clear the body on their own,
but some strains can linger and lead to cervical, anal or oral cancer.

Only about 20 percent of women aged 19-27 reported having received the HPV
vaccine in 2010, up slightly from 17.6 percent in 2009, the CDC said.

The vaccine, currently recommended for girls age 11-26, has faced
resistance from some parents over fears that immunizing young girls would
encourage them to be promiscuous.

The new guidelines, which were first urged by ACIP in October, call for all
males aged 11-12 to get the vaccine too, with a catch up vaccination for those
between the ages of 13 and 21 if they missed it.

HPV vaccine also is recommended for males 22-26 years old who have not been
vaccinated before and who have weakened immune defenses, who test positive for
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), or who have sex with men.

The hepatitis B shot is now being recommended for all adults up to 60 who
have diabetes as soon as possible after they are diagnosed, and for those
older based on the need for assisted blood glucose monitoring.

The combination Tdap vaccine against tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular
pertussis (or whooping cough) had been urged for adults with close contact to
children and for women after they gave birth if they had not previously been
vaccinated as adults.

The new recommendation calls for pregnant women to get the Tdap vaccine at
20 weeks gestation or later so they can pass the antibodies on to the fetus.

All people age six months and older can get the annual flu vaccine, the
update added. Patients with an egg allergy should get the inactivated flu shot.