Federal panel says young boys should receive HPV vaccine

An advisory panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended Tuesday that boys ages 11 to 12 get vaccinated against human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV.

The recommendation was made in a near-unanimous vote, with one member abstaining. 

The CDCs Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices already recommends that girls get the vaccine when theyre 11 or 12, the age when the vaccine is most effective.

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The HPV vaccine has become a hot-button issue in the Republican presidential race. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) signed an executive order in 2007 requiring schoolgirls in his state to receive the vaccine, a decision the presidential hopeful now says he regrets. The Texas Legislature overruled Perrys order.

GOP primary rival Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) has attacked Perry on the HPV issue, saying it was flat-out wrong to require that girls be vaccinated for the disease.

HPV is the nations leading sexually transmitted disease, affecting 50 percent of sexually active men and women at some point in their lives, according to the CDC. The agency estimates that 20 million Americans currently have the disease, which causes cervical cancer in 12,000 women every year.

Vaccinating boys when theyre young not only protects unvaccinated women from getting cervical cancer later in life, the CDC says, but also protects sexually active men from getting rarer HPV-associated diseases such as cancer.