We were aware that Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, was being tested on men back in November when our Jezegay Ryan wrote about his experience as a guinea pig in a clinical study testing the vaccine on dudes. Penis-scraping and ass-poking aside, Ryan was overjoyed that he would be immunized against anal warts, and now it seems that by 2009, other males can feel the distinct thrill of being wart-resistant. But will males actually get the Garadsil shots, even if they're readily available? Except for the warts, straight men do not have to deal with the repercussions of HPV, which can cause cervical cancer in women. (In the United States, 3,700 women die from cervical cancer each year.) Over the weekend, the New York Times asked parents of tween boys if they would allow their children to be given Gardasil, and the results were a mixed bag.
Manhattan real estate broker Lisa Lippman says she will certainly vaccinate her sons because it is her social responsibility. "If there was a vaccine I could take that would get rid of prostate cancer, why wouldn't I?" Lippman told the Times. "If there was a vaccine that sons could get that would get rid of breast cancer, most parents wouldn't hesitate. But cervical cancer is the 'sex cancer.' " Other mothers are not as enlightened as Ms. Lippman. Massachusetts interior designer Madeline Cattell says she would be hesitant to inoculate her boys because "You don't want to say it's just the girls' problem... But my sons won't contract cervical cancer. And genital warts are treatable. I'm very skeptical. What risks will I expose them to?"
Even though the parents of young boys might not be eager to vaccinate their children, Gardasil might be an easier sell amongst college-age males. According to the Times, Baruch Fischhoff, a professor of decision sciences (???) at Carnegie Mellon, "Being able to say to a girl, casually, that you had the shots, boys might think, 'If I can slip that into the conversation, it makes me less of a risk and seem like more of a humanitarian.' " And it might allow them to slip their penis in a young woman's vagina, if you know what I mean.
Vaccinating Boys For Girls' Sake? [New York Times]