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Gardasil for Men

October 24, 2009

From the AP: FDA approves Merck’s Gardasil for boys

So the FDA recently approved the administration of  Gardasil  to men as well as to women, in part because of its prevention of the acquisition of genital warts, , and in part because it would help stop the spread of HPV (to women).  HPV may cause cervical cancer in women, but does not seem to have life-threatening effects in men. 

According to the LA Times, however, a CDC advisory panel has already recommended that it not be used routinely, saying that men should be allowed to get it if they wish, but that a push should not be made.

Of course, in 2007, Texas Governor Rick Perry bypassed legislature to mandate that all schoolgirls entering the 6th grade as of September 2008 must receive the vaccine. I somehow doubt he’ll be making the reciprocal order any time soon. 

Is it ok to put that kind of burden of STD prevention on women alone, if women are the ones most adversely affected by the virus?  Should it be mandatory for either group? It’s an interesting question, given that it’s a virus that a man may not be at all aware of having (genital warts are not  caused by all strains of the virus, as I understand it) which may be indirectly fatal to a partner. Is $390 worth protection from that? 

(Of course, a new competitor for Merck’s Gardasil, GlaxoSmithKlein’s Cervarix, has just been recommended for girls by the CDC panel. It costs $385 and does not protect against GW. Go figure.)

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