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Home HPV and Men HPV and Men Making the Case for Male Vaccination

Making the Case for Male Vaccination

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Submitted by the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is the federal committee assigned to advise the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on national vaccine policy. The ACIP is currently deliberating over whether to issue a routine recommendation for the Gardasil HPV vaccine in the male population. This is an incredible opportunity to reduce the HPV-cancer burden on the US population. Each year in the United States over 28,000 people are diagnosed with an HPV-related cancer.

The HPV vaccine has already been approved to protect against HPV related cancers in men and women (as well as genital warts). It has been specifically approved for protection against anal, cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers. HPV can also cause penile and head and neck cancers. The ACIP has issued a routine recommendation for girls and women to obtain the vaccine, to supplement the FDA’s approval. A routine recommendation has broader implications for insurance companies, as well as local and federal health programs, than permissive recommendations for vaccines.

On June 22, the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation led a coalition of organizations in testifying to the ACIP to encourage a routine recommendation for men. The testimony addressed the moral and health imperative to expand the vaccine to males. HPV-caused cancers are often stigmatized and can be difficult to treat. Anal cancer is on the rise in women and men, especially in the HIV-positive population. HPV-related oropharyngeal cancers are increasing in the male population and it is difficult to detect the cancer early. Men and women equally carry and transmit HPV, which can result in the transmission of the virus between partners. The community of men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM) is especially at risk, and they are not protected by herd immunity that may exist from female vaccination. To prevent cancer in the highest number of Americans, both the male and female population should be given the same access and encouragement to obtain the vaccine.

The U.S. has fallen dramatically behind other developed countries in HPV inoculation rates. The vaccine is America’s best chance to lower the burden from HPV-associated malignancies. Even with widespread knowledge of the need to visit a gynecologist, 12,000 women slip through cervical cancer screening programs each year and are diagnosed with the disease. Screening protocols for HPV-related cancers in other sites are either non-existent or not effectively implemented. Systemic therapies for those with advance HPV-associated cancer are limited in their efficacy.

Attached is the testimony submitted by the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation, American Social Health Association, The Farrah Fawcett Foundation, Global Initiative Against HPV and Cervical Cancer, GMHC, International Rectal Microbicide Advocates , Kristen Forbes EVE Foundation, LGBT Cancer Network,The National Cervical Cancer Coalition, The Oral Cancer Foundation and Project Inform.

The ACIP will meet to continue their discussion in October.

The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation is dedicated to reducing suffering of and ensuring quality care for those affected by anal cancer and the virus that causes the majority of cases, human papillomavirus (HPV). Visit them online.