By Tamsin Brown • 04 March 2022 • 14:22
Jan Christian @ www.ambrotosphotography.comGardasil_vaccine_and_box.jpg: Jan Christian @ www.ambrotosphotography.comderivative work: Photohound, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Spanish experts are arguing that boys, not just girls, need to be vaccinated against human papillomavirus too.
Vaccination against human papillomavirus (HPV) – the biggest cause of sexually transmitted diseases worldwide – reduces cancers in both men and women. This is why paediatricians in Spain are arguing that vaccination against the virus should be given regardless of gender. All people are transmitters and all people can suffer the consequences of the virus.
This was one of the main conclusions presented at a press conference held to mark the occasion of International HPV Awareness Day on March 4. At the event, María Garcés-Sánchez, a primary care paediatrician and member of the Vaccine Advisory Committee of the Spanish Association of Paediatrics (CAV-AEP), argued that boys, not just girls, should be vaccinated against the virus. She also explained that it is best for the jab to be given before the start of sexual relations because the antibody response is greater the younger the person is.
More than 80% of sexually active people will contract an HPV infection at some point in their lives. It is responsible for approximately 5% of all tumours and is linked to almost 100% of cervical cancers, 40% of penile cancers, 40% of vulvar cancers and 90% of anal cancers.
In order to eliminate HPV-associated cancers, “it is essential for this sexually transmitted infection to be tackled in our country without distinction of gender,” said Dr Garcés-Sánchez. At present, she stressed, the effects of the virus are felt in the entire population and go far beyond cervical cancer, which it is most commonly associated with.
In Spain, 1,957 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed in 2020, a number that represents approximately 3% of female tumours, making it the 14th most common type, behind breast, colorectal, lung, stomach, uterine body, ovarian, melanoma, thyroid and haematological tumours, according to data from the Spanish Association Against Cancer (AECC).
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Originally from London, Tamsin is based in Malaga and is a local reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering Spanish and international news.
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