Men’s Health Network urges men to get HPV vaccine

June 7, 2013

The Men’s Health Network is hoping actor Michael Douglas’ assertion that his throat cancer was caused by human papillomavirus contracted during oral sex will provoke more males to get the HPV vaccine.

The Men’s Health Network (MHN) is hoping actor Michael Douglas’ assertion that his throat cancer was caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) contracted during oral sex will provoke more males to get the HPV vaccine.

“It’s important to vaccinate boys as well as girls for the HPV virus; it is inefficient to vaccinate only one partner against a condition that is spread the way HPV is,” said Salvatore J. Giorgianni, Jr., PharmD, chair, Men’s Health Caucus Constituency of the American Public Health Association, and Science Advisor, MHN. “Many young people do not consider oral-genital and other extra-vaginal activity as sexual activity. Sexually active persons of all ages should understand that these activities carry many of the risks associated with sexual intercourse, such as the transmission of HPV and should engage in safe practices, including as indicated, vaccination.”

According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. There are an estimated 26,000 HPV-attributable cancers annually in the United States, with about 17,000 occurring in women and about 9,000 in men.

HPV vaccine has been recommended for routine vaccination of 11- and 12-year-old girls since 2006 and for 11- and 12-year-old boys since 2011.  

Armin Brott, author of “The Military Father” and host of the nationally-syndicated “Positive Parenting” radio show, said it’s especially Important for men to be vaccinated since half of the oral cancers in the United States are diagnosed in men and boys and 75% caused by HPV. “But that’s just the beginning of the devastation caused by HPV,” Brott said. “Researchers are now investigating possible links between HPV infection and increased heart disease and stroke risk.”