HPV for Boys

We’ve all seen the commercials, right?  The ones that say, “I want to be one less”, the girls who don’t want to become a statistic, to get cervical cancer.  The HPV vaccine prevents a few varieties of the virus that causes cervical cancer, so while it isn’t a cure, it could be a step in the right direction.

Well, Maya is 12 now, and not really acting interested in boys.  We’ve been deciding whether to vaccinate her now or later.  It’s not a matter of whether to vaccinate her or not…if we can protect her from the possibility of dying from cancer, wouldn’t we want to do so?  And HPV is SO prevalent in Humans, your best chance of preventing it is to vaccinate before your child becomes sexually active.  So they recommend vaccination between the ages of 10 and 12, to cover the ‘early bloomers’ in the crowd.  The only problem is, for us, that the vaccination is so new.  We want to wait a few years, just to make sure it’s safe.  We did the same thing with chicken pox.  We waited.  One thing I like about Maya’s pediatrician is that she has a daughter about 9 months older than Maya.  So when we were trying to decide if we wanted to vaccinate against chicken pox, we asked her, and she said, “The Jury’s still out in our household”.  Meaning, she was for it, her husband wasn’t yet comfortable, and she waited until he was.  Once they were comfortable vaccinating their daughter, we felt safer about giving that same shot to Maya.   It’s the same now.  So this year, when I talked to her pediatrician, she said, “It’s whether your daughter is 12 going on 30, or 12 going on 13.  If she’s trying really hard to be grown up, really interested in boys, etc., you might not feel safe waiting.  And if she’s not in a hurry, you can feel safe waiting a bit longer.”  Her daughter just turned 13, and they’re waiting until she’s 14.  That made me feel better.  More like I didn’t have to decide TODAY.  (Sometimes I wish we had waited maybe 5 more years to have Maya, so she wouldn’t always be on the front end of these vaccinations.)

ANYWAY, my whole point here was to talk to you parents of boys.  Did you know that the vaccination is effective in boys as well?  Why, you might ask, would I need to subject my son to a vaccination that won’t help him?  Think of it this way.  If it can prevent him from passing on a disease to a woman he loves, isn’t that a good thing?  If your son can not watch his wife or lover die or suffer from a horrible disease, wouldn’t that be worthwhile?  Are you going to bet some girl’s life on your son being a virgin until he marries, and her being a virgin as well, and them staying together forever?  That’s a mighty risky gamble, and if it worked, people wouldn’t die from this disease now.  I am not so sure that it’s available for boys yet, though.  Maya’s doctor told me it’s effective for boys, but the article I linked to, above, suggests that it isn’t even available for them yet.  Why? Very strange, in my book.

My further 2 cents.  People who say that giving your child this vaccination encourages promiscuity are delusional.  Maya has had a ton of shots throughout the years, and she NEVER asks what they’re for.  She just hates having them, and is glad when they’re over. So if I’m not comfortable talking to her about it YET, I don’t have to.  I can indeed talk to her about it in a few years, and tell her what it protects against, and what it doesn’t protect against, and why she should still be mighty careful, if she doesn’t want to end up like Jamie Lynn Spears or Bristol Palin.  And one mighty good option is to wait.  Some kids do.  But I wouldn’t risk her life on it.

14 thoughts on “HPV for Boys

  1. My daughter is 11 and in the process of having the series of the vaccine. I spent several months looking into, talking with friends and the doctor.
    She knows the vaccine will reduce her chances of getting cervical cancer but we have not talked about the whole promiscuity factor. We will but right now she doesn’t like boys and I don’t think it will be as relevant. Now our son is 15 1/2 and we do continuously talk to him.

  2. So what do you think, Joan? Will you get the shot for your son, once it becomes available for boys? And did you know it can prevent the painful condition of genital warts for him?

  3. This subject just makes me want to cry. I have the virus and yet I still procrastinate in giving the shot to Autumn. Sigh. Thank you for posting on this topic. I have said often, why aren’t they marketing this for boys as well. We can all be part of the cure. I hate when I hear people throwing in the promiscuity card. The simple fact is I would tell Autumn, one day I hope this saves your life. End of story.

  4. I think it would be ridiculous not to give it to my little charmer. I haven’t read a ton about this, but I thought there were many many strains that lead to cervical cancer and this only covers a small few. I always feel like vaccinations are ways for the gov to do mass testing. call me paranoid.

    I think it’s disgusting they way all of this stuff gets pushed on girls…periods, pregnancies now vaccines. It really pisses me off. When it’s available, they should have the same kind of marketing campaign. I’ve always thought commercials for pads, ‘pons and hoo-ha treatments were embarrassing. I mean you never see a bunch of dudes in the locker room on TV discussing how their balls itch and gee, here’s some spray, so give it a whirl.

  5. Ms M: Most guys in locker rooms are intensely homophobic and don’t strike up conversations about their nether regions if there are other naked guys around. 🙂

  6. If this is any help, I can share with you my stance. I talked to my gynecologist about giving the vaccine to my daughter and she said that it would be good to make an appointment with my daughter to discuss the matter with her and me there as well. She, like you, is worried about possible repercussions administering the vaccine too early. FDA approval or not, their evaluations of the situation is not fullproof.

    I believe there is no reason to give my daughter the vaccine before there are overt signs that she is considering becoming sexually active. The fact that the American doctors are saying 10 and 12 is because of the very early age of teenage sex in your country. I’ve talked to my daughter (she’s 13 and a 1/2) and in no hurry to have a boyfriend. We will wait until she starts dating. Then we will see about the vaccine and then birth control. If this doesn’t happen by the time she is 15, then I will probably see to the vaccine anyway. For the difference between the body development of a 10 year old and a 15 year old is considerable.

  7. Oh my. I considered blogging about this almost a year ago, but I decided not to because I don’t have daughters and a vaccine for my sons (23 & 20) isn’t even out there yet. My view is “if there is the remotest chance that you could save your daughter’s life, why on earth wouldn’t you?” I agree that it might be comforting to some moms to wait until there is an interest shown in boys, but to wait beyond that is silly. The pressure on girls to have sex is monumental; I see it every single day at the high school where I teach. Some girls have a very casual attitude about boys and they act much differently around school than they do at home. Believe me; the mothers who find out that their daughters have boyfriends at school are many, and they are completely shocked to hear of little Brittany necking in the hall with Josh. Kids are secretive; they confide in friends much earlier than they do in parents about the opposite sex and sex in many cases. And as the mother of sons, I am continually shocked at the predatory nature of the females that involve themselves with my sons.

  8. it’s a tough call. i guess just do the research and make an informed decision. i remember reading when i was young that hpv also thrives in places like locker rooms (same virus as plantar warts), and can be contracted this way as well. i don’t know if this is true, or if it’s even a strain that’s treated by the vaccine. food for thought?

  9. I don’t have children, so haven’t had to think about this, but any time a new vaccine comes out, I am inclined to wait as long as possible to hear about how it does in long-term tests.

  10. I went ahead and had Julia get her shot. I was apprehensive as well about it being new. I just knew I wanted to protect her so I went for it. Hopefully it wasn’t the wrong choice.

  11. This is the first I’ve heard about it being considered for boys. Without a doubt if it was available, I would look into it but it would have to be well researched.

  12. On your 2 cents…
    People who say things like “…encourages promiscuity ” are just hiding behind an excuse. I think their own insecurities are what really prevents adults from having these types of conversations.

    That was just my 2 cents. 😉

    ~Mother of a 2 year old son.

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