A CDC committee voted overwhelmingly today to recommend the HPV vaccine for boys as well as girls, reasoning that it will protect them from some cancers of the penis and rectum, while also preventing them from transmitting HPV to the people they sleep with. Twelve panel members voted for the recommendation, with one abstaining, CNN reports. The committee recommends boys get the shot as early as age 9.
The vaccine has been FDA approved for males since 2009, but it hasn’t been marketed toward them. The CDC is making this push now in part because not as many girls are being vaccinated as doctors had hoped. “If the boys are also immunized, it reduces the transmission back and forth,” one CDC adviser explained.