The HPV vaccine and boys

My 13 year old son recently had his yearly routine physical. Now that he’s in grade 8, I was asked to remain in the waiting area (yet another sign that he’s growing up!). The doctor still invited me in afterwards to go over a few things.

BoysShe recommended that boys be vaccinated against HPV (human papillomavirus), and that my son is at the right age to get the vaccine.

I was aware of the importance of the HPV vaccine in protecting girls against cervical cancer, but what I didn’t know was the full extent of how Gardasil  also protects boys and men. In males, HPV can cause cancers of the anus, mouth/throat (oropharyngeal cancer), and penis. The vaccine also helps prevent most cases of genital warts.

I’ve read that HPV infection is very common and that around 75% of sexually active Canadians will become infected at some point in their lives – often without even knowing it. Most HPV infections have no symptoms and often go away without treatment. Then why worry? Well the problem is when HPV infections don’t clear on their own, there can be serious consequences.

boy with doctor

Cases of anal cancer and cancers of the mouth/throat are also on the rise. In fact, if current trends continue, the annual number of cancers of the mouth/throat attributed to HPV is expected to surpass the annual number of cervical cancers by 2020.

The doctor also shared a few safety facts about the HPV vaccine. It does not contain any preservatives, antibiotics, thimerosal or mercury and that you cannot become infected with HPV from the vaccine.

All this information helped put my mind at ease. However for my son, he is simply anxious about getting more needles… as Gardasil is a series of vaccines. But that’s another story!

If you are wondering if the vaccine is right for your son, speak with your health care provider. The HPV vaccine is not publicly funded for boys in Ontario. If you have questions about the HPV vaccine,

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.



About Cynthia Lindsay RN

Hi everyone. My name is Cynthia Lindsay and I work as a public health nurse with the school years program. I've been a nurse for over 20 years (wow time flies!) with the last 13 years focused on what I've discovered to be my passion... Parenting. I now have many parenting accreditations and enjoy connecting with parents in the community through Triple P, parenting groups & social media. "Je parle aussi le français" and I love working, making connections, and raising my 2 teens with my hubby in Halton.
This entry was posted in Children & Tweens, Keeping Your Child/Tween Safe, Keeping Your Teen Safe, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Teens and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The HPV vaccine and boys

  1. Carolyn Wilkie, RN says:

    Great blog Cynthia,
    I appreciated the read.
    Is the HPV covered for boys?

  2. Hi Carolyn, unfortunately the HPV vaccine is not publicly funded for boys in Ontario. It is covered by some benefits plans. Also, Halton Region does provide immunization clinics where you can receive this vaccine for a fee. The fees vary but are around $150 per dose. Here is the link to our community immunization clinics.

  3. Debora says:

    Interesting! I did not know that this vaccine was for boys also! I think that it should be covered like for the girls. Hopefully it will be the case soon!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s