What did Dr. Besser say about the HPV vaccine?

February 1, 2011

Today, on ‘Good Morning America,’ Dr. Besser–the show’s medical expert and reporter–talked about recommendations for vaccines that older teens should get. http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/OnCall/video/new-vaccine-guidelines-for-older-children-teens-12810738 He recommended three vaccines, including one to prevent whooping cough,meningococcal booster to prevent meningitis, and a hepatitis B vaccine.

Dr. Besser was talking about the American Academy of Pediatrics new recommendations for older teens. The Academy recommended other vaccines as well, including the HPV vaccine.    http://abcnews.go.com/Health/w_ParentingResource/vaccinate-child-time/story?id=12806514&page=1 

Interestingly, Dr. Besser did NOT recommend this vaccine…for teen boys specifically, saying that he wouldn’t, “get it for my sons.”  When asked why, he said for boys, it is a preventive for genital warts which are he noted “easily treatable.” When pushed for more information, he added, “It’s very expensive.”

Interesting. We  have discussed HPV in this forum before and in the past week, had quite a discussion relating to HPV. http://whyhealthcommunication.com/whc_blog/wp-admin/post.php?post=376&action=edit  That discussion built on an earlier one.  http://whyhealthcommunication.com/whc_blog/wp-admin/post.php?post=33&action=edit

It is important to remember the limitations of the vaccine for females and cervical cancer prevention noted on the National Cancer Institute’s site, “The vaccine tested in this study has several limitations, noted NCI’s Hildesheim. For one thing, the vaccine offers no protection against other types of HPV that can also cause cervical cancer. In addition, it’s unknown whether the vaccine’s protection against HPV-16 is long-lasting. Finally, it does not prevent HPV-16 infections already present at the time of vaccination from progressing to cancer.” http://www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/results/summary/2002/cervical-cancer-vaccine1102

Let’s not forget an important message then… still get a pap test as an early detection strategy for cervical cancer…

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