By Julian Pecquet - 10/25/11 04:26 PM EDT
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 CDC’s Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices already recommends that girls get the vaccine when they’re 11 or 12, the age when the vaccine is most effective.
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 nation’s 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 they’re 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.