Should my boyfriend be vaccinated? Why vaccinate boys and men if cervical cancer only occurs in women? I have been getting these and other questions about HPV vaccination very often lately.

☝🏼First, women get HPV from men.

☝🏼Secondly, HPV causes cancer in men too.

HPV led to a five-fold increase of head and neck cancers in young men from 2001 to 2017, according to data released at the 2021 American Society for Clinical Oncology annual meeting. Head and neck cancers are four times as common in men as they are in women. There is no test for HPV cancers in males. A Pap test detects early-stage cervical cancer in women.

The HPV vaccines protect against infection from certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) that cause cancers of the anus, cervix, mouth and throat, penis, vagina, and vulva as well as genital warts.

Although there are several organizations that develop recommendations for the HPV vaccine, these recommendations may differ slightly from each other. Some recommendations are that boys and girls should be vaccinated at 9 years of age. Center of Disease Control and Prevention (USA) says that Children ages 11–12 years should get two doses of HPV vaccine, given 6 to 12 months apart. Also, HPV vaccines can be given starting at age 9 years. Children who start the HPV vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday need three doses, given over 6 months. HPV vaccination is not recommended for everyone older than age 26 years.

Which vaccine is preferred? Each country may have its own recommendations for choosing the type of vaccine. For example, there are two HPV vaccines available in Canada: Cervarix® (HPV2) and Gardasil®9 (HPV9). The HPV9 vaccine is approved for use in both males and females. The HPV2 vaccine is only approved for use in females. The HPV9 protects against 9 types of HPV, which is why it is now the vaccine of choice.

Recently, data have been published that even a single dose of vaccination has a good protective response. Therefore, in countries where full vaccination is not available, a single dose of vaccine can be of great benefit.