The importance of the HPV vaccine to gay men

cover-your-buttMany of us who provide scientific information about HPV quadrivalent vaccine, also known as Gardasil (or Silgard in Europe), tend to focus on its effects on preventing cancers in women, so articles are inclined to pay attention to vaccinating teenage girls rather than boys. But, if you carefully analyze the disease, human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease, its subtypes 16 and 18 not only cause approximately 70% of cervical cancers, but they cause most HPV-induced anal (95% linked to HPV), vulvar (50% linked), vaginal (65% linked), oropharyngeal (60% linked) and penile (35% linked) cancers. The viruses are generally passed through genital contact, almost always as a result of vaginal, oral and anal sex. 

These HPV-related cancers can be prevented as long as you can prevent the HPV infection itself, either through never having genital contact with an infected person (and since about 79 million adult Americans are infected with the virus, that’s going to be difficult) or the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is a vitally important part of the war against HPV, it prevents the transmission of certain types (pdf) of human papillomavirus (HPV), specifically types 6, 11, 16 and 18. These subtypes of HPV are most often implicated in these cancers. Continue reading “The importance of the HPV vaccine to gay men”