New research from University of Toronto professor Peter A. Newman suggests that increasing Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates among males aged 11 to 21 is an important component of protecting both men’s and women’s health.
Among men, HPV has been linked to anal, penile, and some throat cancers; in women, HPV can be responsible for cervical cancer. The well-established correlation between HPV and cervical cancer has made the HPV vaccine popular among young women. However among men, the perceived lack of any correlation between HPV and a life-threatening illness has made it difficult for the vaccine to gain traction.
Other factors that also negatively influence a vaccine’s popularity include misinformation, unjustified vaccine fears, expensive costs, and clinic wait times.
Newman’s study concluded that health care professionals must actively explain the benefits of vaccinating boys against HPV to improve the fight against cancer for both men and women.