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For several years, girls have had access to the Gardasil shot to protect them from HPV and cervical cancer. The vaccine has recently been approved for boys ages 9-26. Several area health centers have started offering this vaccination to young men. KSMU’s Adam Murphy reports.
The main purpose of girls getting the Gardasil vaccine is to protect them from cervical cancer, which is caused by HPV, the Human papillomavirus. Boys obviously cannot get cervical cancer, but they are still susceptible to HPV, which can cause genital warts. Dr. Matthew Stinson is with the Jordan Valley Community Health Center in Springfield. He says the vaccine has benefits for boys, which is why his clinic is offering it to adolescent males.
“It’s a dual benefit: one is prevention of genital warts, the second is if they’re immunized, it also will protect females who come in contact with them from getting cervical cancer,” said Dr. Stinson.
Taylor Health and Wellness at Missouri State University is also among the local clinics offering the shot for boys. Taylor received grant funding in 2007 to provide the vaccine to females at no cost, but they have not received any funding to provide the shot to boys. The cost of the shot for males at Taylor is $156 for each of the three doses.
Both clinics report that the only side effect they have seen from the shot is soreness at the injection site. Allergic reactions are also possible. Dr. Stinson says the vaccine is recommended for adolescent boys before they become sexually active.
For KSMU News, I’m Adam Murphy.