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HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention for Boys, Too!

Two boys taking a selfieAsk your child's doctor at their next appointment about getting HPV vaccine. Take advantage of any visit to the doctor—such as an annual health checkup or physicals for sports, camp, or college—to ask the doctor about what shots your preteens and teens need.

Boys need HPV vaccine, too. Here's why.

Every year in the United States around 11,000 men get cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. HPV infections that don’t go away can cause cancers of the anus and rectum, mouth/throat (oropharynx), and penis in men.

Cases of anal cancer and cancers of the mouth/throat are on the rise. Unlike cervical cancer, there are no screening tests for these cancers, so they are often caught at a later stage when they are more difficult to treat.

Many of the cancers caused by HPV infection in both men and women could be prevented by HPV vaccination. HPV vaccination is recommended by doctors and other health experts for both boys and girls at ages 11-12.

HPV vaccine is recommended for boys at 11 or 12 years

Boys, like girls, should get start the HPV vaccine series at age 11 or 12 when they receive the vaccines recommended for preteens that help prevent meningitis and whooping cough. The HPV vaccine series can be started as early as age 9 and should be finished before boys turn 13 years old. When given at these ages, only two doses of HPV vaccine are needed, 6 to 12 months apart.

If you haven't already vaccinated your preteen or teen boys, it's not too late. If your teen boy is already 15 years old and hasn't started the HPV vaccine series, he will need three shots, given over 6 months.

Ask your child's doctor at their next appointment about getting HPV vaccine. Take advantage of any visit to the doctor—such as an annual health checkup or physicals for sports, camp, or college—to ask the doctor about what shots your preteens and teens need.

Some preteens and teens might faint after getting a shot, including HPV vaccine… even boys! Just like for girls, preteen and teen boys should sit or lie down when they get any shot and stay like that for about 15 minutes after the shot. This can help prevent fainting and any injury that could happen during a fall while fainting.

How can I get help paying for HPV vaccine?

Families who need help paying for vaccines should ask their doctor or other healthcare professional about Vaccines for Children (VFC) . The VFC program provides vaccines at no cost to children younger than 19 years who are uninsured, Medicaid-eligible, American Indian, or Alaska Native. For help in finding a local healthcare professional who participates in the program, parents can call 800-CDC-INFO or read more at Vaccines for Your Children.

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