Carcinogenic human papilloma viruses: STIKO also recommends HPV vaccination for boys
The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) has been recommending HPV vaccination for girls since March 2007 with the aim of significantly reducing the number of cervical cancer cases. Now the health experts are advising to vaccinate boys against the viruses too. Vaccination also protects against various other cancers that affect men.
Viruses can cause cancer
Human papilloma viruses (HPV) are pathogens that can cause inflammation and skin changes, but in the worst case can also cause cancer. The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) has recommended HPV vaccination for girls from the age of nine since 2007. This should significantly reduce the number of cervical cancer cases. For some years, some health experts have been recommending that HPV vaccination be recommended for boys, too, because it can protect them against genital warts and precursors to penile and anal cancer, among other things. One of these experts is the Nobel Prize in Medicine Harald zur Hausen. He told the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) that it was "high time" that HPV vaccination was recommended for boys.
Vaccination against human papilloma viruses also for boys
As the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reports on its website, STIKO made the following decision at its 90th meeting on June 5, 2018:
"The Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) recommends vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) for all boys aged 9 to 14 years. Follow-up vaccination is recommended up to the age of 17. The HPV vaccination recommendation for girls remains unchanged. "
The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) explains this recommendation as the basis for the statutory health insurance companies to bear the costs in a press release in which Nobel Laureate in Medicine Harald zur Hausen was asked about the topic.
With his research, Harald zur Hausen, former chairman of the DKFZ board of directors, has shown the connection between viruses and cervical cancer and thus laid the foundation for the development of HPV vaccines.
For this he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2008.
Protection against preventable cancers
Since the 2007 HPV vaccine was approved in Germany, Zur Hausen had demanded that not only girls but also boys be vaccinated against HPV.
He said about the STIKO decision: “It was high time! There have been a number of compelling reasons for vaccinating boys for a long time: the most obvious argument is that in almost all cultures, young men have more sexual partners than women of the same age group. This makes men the most important spreaders of the infection. "
In addition, men also benefit from vaccination because they are not only the carriers, but also the victims of the viruses.
"Vaccination not only protects against cervical cancer, but also against various other types of cancer that can also affect men and that are triggered by the same types of HPV, such as mouth and throat cancer or anal cancer," said the Nobel Prize winner for medicine.
"I can therefore only appeal to the parents of all boys: seize the opportunity and protect your son and his future partners from these avoidable cancers," said the expert.
According to the information, around 1,000 cancer cases in men are caused by HPV in Germany every year.
"In addition to effective protection against cancer, vaccination can also protect against widespread genital warts, which are not life-threatening, but are very persistent and unpleasant," said Zur Hausen.
Well tolerated vaccines
According to the DKFZ, the vaccines currently used are considered safe and well tolerated.
The most common side effects observed - similar to other vaccinations - are skin reactions at the injection site such as redness, itching, mild pain and swelling.
For example, headaches, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, or hypersensitivity reactions such as difficulty breathing may occur less frequently. (ad)