8 September 2009 Print this article Comments Share this article
A vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV) should be given to men as well as women, the vaccine's founder has urged.
Professor Ian Frazer, former Australian of the Year and creator of the Gardasil vaccine given to all girls and women to prevent cervical cancer, told the Australasian Sexual Health Conference in Brisbane yesterday that men and boys also needed to be concerned about the sexually-transmitted virus.
"Papilloma virus-associated cancer and genital warts are problems not just for women, but for men as well," Prof Frazer said.
"About 10 per cent of the cancer burden caused by HPV16 and HPV18 is in men, and genital warts affects men and women equally.
"Vaccinating males prior to virus exposure would likely help protect them against HPV-associated cancer, and also against genital warts."
In the US, an advisory panel to the Food and Drug Administration will tomorrow consider the safety and efficacy of extending Gardasil to men and boys.
In Australia, Gardasil and its new competitor, Cervarix, are only indicated for girls and women aged up to 45 years for the prevention of the cancer.