Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast/Scanpix.

HPV vaccination effective for boys

A Swedish researcher is calling for an expansion of vaccination programs against the sexually transmitted HPV virus following the release of an international study showing that the vaccine is effective for young men, and that it may prevent certain cancers.

While most infections from  HPV, or human pappillomavirus, are symptom-free, some types can  lead to painful genital warts that may progress to precancerous lesions and invasive cancer. Vaccination against HPV is currently offered to fifth- and sixth-grade girls in Sweden as protection against cervical cancer.

The three-year study, published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that the vaccine protected 90 percent of boys and young men in 18 countries. Joakim Dillner, professor in infection epidemiology at Stockholm’s Karolinska Institute, is asking health authorities to consider expanding Sweden's vaccination program to include boys.

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