NATIONAL BOYS ORGANIZATION HAILS RECENT FINDINGS ABOUT HPV VACCINE USE

Use attributed to major decline in HPV infection among teen girls; c hallenge remains to more fully vaccine boys

June 24, 2013 – Washington, DC - The Boys Initiative ( www.theboysinitiative.org ) is greatly encouraged by recent findings , published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, indicating that the infection rate of the human papilloma virus (HPV) among teenage females has dropped by half in recent years.  Federal officials attribute that decline to more widespread use of a vaccine for teenage females that prevents infection with HPV, which was approved for use in teenage females in 2006.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the HPV virus causes about 19,000 cancers in women and about 8,000 in men every year.  At current vaccination rates, the vaccine would prevent 45,000 cases of cervical cancer and 14,000 deaths among girls now age 13 and younger over the course of their lifetimes.  About a quarter of Americans are infected with HPV.

While the current HPV full vaccination rate among teenage females has increased to nearly 33%, in recent years that rate may be declining, according to a recent article published in the journal Pediatrics. The decline is attributable at least in part to stigma associated with a vaccine that prevents a sexually transmitted disease.

In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended routine use of the quadrivalent HPV vaccine in males aged 11 or 12 years.  However, the most recent data indicates that the full vaccination rate among teenage males is only 1%.

“Underutilization rates for HPV vaccine, especially among teenage males, is staggering,” said David Bell, MD, MPH,  Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Columbia University and  co-chair of a Boys Initiative project to develop health care recommendations for adolescent and young adult males.  “We need to be much more aggressive in educating clinicians and parents about the importance of the HPV vaccine for teenage males,” Bell said.  “Given the burden of lifelong disease that HPV can cause, it is simply unacceptable to have such low vaccination rates.”

“Foreign HPV vaccination rates put ours to shame,” said Joel Heidelbaugh, MD, FAAFP, FACG, Clinical Associate Professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Urology at the University of Michigan Medical School and a member of The Boys Initiative’s male adolescent project Advisory Council.  “It has been reported that vaccination rates in countries like Denmark and Britain are above 80 percent. Even Rwanda, in East Africa, has reached 80 percent.”

“The report underscores the importance of The Boys Initiative project to develop comprehensive recommendations for clinicians and health information for their patients, adolescent and young adult males,” said Dennis Barbour, Boys Initiative Co-Founder.  “Our work to improve the health of adolescent and young adult males is not only groundbreaking but essential,” said Barbour.

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The mission of The Boys Initiative is to shed light on declining achievement and wellbeing among boys and young men, to foster dialogue and debate about the issue, and to collaborate on solutions with those who are committed to the futures of our nation’s youth.  The organization’s principal role is to serve as a hub for information exchange and action among the broad range of organizations whose work touches on boys and young men. 

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CONTACT:  Dennis J. Barbour
202-380-1788 | 202-841-7475
dbarbour@theboysinitiative.org  

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