Panel Endorses HPV Vaccine for Boys of 11

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Boys and young men should be vaccinated against human papillomavirus, or HPV, to protect against anal and throat cancers that can result from sexual activity, a federal advisory committee said Tuesday.

The recommendation by the panel, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is likely to transform the use of the HPV vaccine, since most private insurers pay for vaccines once the committee recommends them for routine use. The HPV vaccine is expensive. Its three doses cost pediatricians more than $300, and pediatricians often charge patients hundreds more.

The committee recommended that boys ages 11 and 12 should be vaccinated. It also recommended vaccination of males ages 13 through 21 who had not already had all three shots. Vaccinations may be given to boys as young as 9 and to men between the ages of 22 and 26.

The committee recommended in 2006 that girls and young women ages 11 to 26 should be vaccinated, but vaccination rates in the United States have so far been disappointing.

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