The Centers for Disease Control has issued official guidelines that boys now receive the HPV vaccine. The vaccine has been recommended for girls since 2006 to protect them from the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus linked to cancers. But because girls get the virus from boys, it "seems appropriate, even fair, for boys to share responsibility for maximizing community immunity," an expert told ABC News recently. The new guidelines follow a health committee vote last year recommending that the CDC modify its policy. The urgency behind HPV vaccines for boys rose last week after a study revealed that that nearly 7% of American teens and adults have oral HPV, a virus which can lead to oral cancer. Men are three times more likely to have oral HPV than women, according to the study.
The CDC is recommending the vaccine for all boys, ages 11 and 12—the same age girls receive the vaccine. The agency also recommends older children and young adults gets the three-dose vaccine if they haven't received the vaccination at a younger age. The vaccine has been a hot-button issue for conservatives, some of whom view it as encouragement of sexual promiscuity. Former Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann sparked a furor when she said during a debate that the vaccine carries a risk of causing "retardation." She said later that she simply "passed on" a claim she heard from a stranger on the campaign trail.