Blog: Why should boys and men get the HPV vaccine?

Published: June 29, 2023

Boys and men should get the HPV vaccine because the human papillomavirus (HPV) can impact their health. Just like girls and women, they can be infected and affected by HPV.

The FDA approved the first Gardasil vaccine for girls and women ages 9-26 in 2006, which protected against four strains of HPV. Health care professionals encouraged parents to get the HPV vaccine for their daughters — especially because of the link between HPV and cervical cancer.

Soon after, health experts broadened their recommendations, urging parents to get the HPV vaccine for their sons as well. The vaccine also benefited male health, protecting against the types of HPV that could cause cancer in men.

More than 4 in 10 cases of HPV-related cancer occur in men, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, there is currently no test for HPV-related cancers for males. (For females, a Pap test can detect the early cell changes that signal the first stages of HPV-related cervical cancer. Early detection can make treatment more effective.)

But since there is not yet a way to catch HPV-related cancers early in men, preventing HPV with the HPV vaccine becomes much more critical.

While most cases of HPV will clear on their own, certain strains of HPV can cause six types of cancer. In men, this includes cancers of the:

  • anus
  • back of the mouth and throat (oropharyngeal)
  • penis

Currently, there are more cases of HPV-related cancer in the back of the mouth and throat in men than there are cases of cervical cancer in women, according to the CDC. HPV can cause 70% of these oropharyngeal cancers.

HPV is very common. In fact, nearly all adults will get some strain of HPV during their lifetimes. This is why it is so important that all children get the HPV vaccination. The current version of Gardasil (the only HPV vaccine provided in the U.S.) protects against nine strains of HPV, including the types of HPV that can cause warts in the genitals, anus, and mouth.

Today, the CDC and other medical experts recommend that all children — boys and girls — begin the HPV vaccination series at ages 11-12. Starting at this age helps ensure that children have protection against HPV long before they come in contact with the virus. And with many years of use and millions of doses given, the HPV vaccine has proven to be safe.

All for Them is proud to offer vaccination clinics across the state of Texas alongside our partner school districts. By providing these clinics at school — for both male and female students — All for Them helps address common difficulties families may face in accessing life-saving care for their children. The clinics offer all childhood and adolescent vaccinations, including Tdap, HPV, meningococcal, flu, and more.

Find a vaccination clinic near you at AllForThemVaccines.com.