Thursday, October 4, 2007

Yes, boys too please!

You've probably gathered if you read this blog regularly that I'm a staunch supporter not only of treatments for cervical cancer, but also of prevention - that is, the new cervical cancer vaccine for preventing the HPV virus. And debate has been raging about whether, how and at what age this vaccine should be given out. To adults only? To teenagers? To pre-pubescents? Those newspapers that rant rather than write have been having a field day.

One thing that has been taken for granted by all the media, however, is that vaccinations should be given to girls. After all, it's girls wot get this cancer isn't it, so it's girls wot ought to be vaccinated! :)

So I was delighted to see my colleague Anne Szarewski speaking out in GP magazine this week in favour of vaccinating the boys. And - despite the commentators who worry that this would take the funding away from the female market, I agree with Anne.

It's not just that vaccinating boys will make it less likely that they will infect their partners. It's that by vaccinating boys too we send a clear message that it takes two to tango and that the lads as well as the girls who should be taking responsibility.

So yes, of course don't cut back on the female vaccination programme. Of course don't fail to get the message across to girls.

But when we're arguing about vaccinating boys as opposed to not vaccinating them, it seems like a nobrainer to me.

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