Back in February we were wondering whether the FDA was going to get behind a HPV vaccine for boys to prevent HPV-causing anal cancer, the same way it does for girls and cervical cancer. Good news!
The Food and Drug Administration advisory committee this week recommended the agency approve the vaccine Gardasil for use in boys to prevent them from developing some types of anal cancer. Why such a big deal? Because with the FDA’s seal — rather than a doctor using Gardasil for off-label use — insurance providers (and Medicare/Medicaid) are almost certain to cover the cost.
The evidence that Gardasil worked to prevent HPV transmission has been mounting for years, but the obvious controversy was about whether parents would want their little boys to get the vaccine, which is really only going to help those engaged in anal sex (and bottoms at that). But there’s no way to know if a boy is going to turn in to a homo or a hetero, so why not play is safe and vaccinate all boys?
While the FDA doesn’t have to accept the panel’s recommendations, it almost always does. Which means for the 5,000 anal cancer diagnoses in American men each year (90% of which are tied to HPV), might soon be on the way out. In a generation or two: HPV vaccines are only effective if you haven’t been exposed to the virus yet. Which means you’re either an 8-year-old boy or a 40-year-old virgin.