HPV Vaccine for Men- Everything You Should Know

HPV Vaccine for Men- Everything You Should Know

Mar 15
HPV Vaccine for Men- Everything You Should Know

You may have heard about the HPV vaccine for men. It can help protect against genital warts and some types of cancer. Currently, vaccination is the best way to prevent HPV infections because there is no cure or test for the virus in men. Here is what you need to know.

How Is HPV Transmitted?

HPV is also known as human papillomavirus. It is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the US. You can get HPV through intercourse or skin to skin contact with someone who has the virus. In most cases, HPV has no symptoms. That’s why many people don’t know they’re infected.

HPV can go away on its own. But you need to boost your immune system to remove the virus from your body.

Learn more: Can You Catch HPV from Fingering?

How Does HPV Affect Boys and Men?

HPV has two main types: low-risk HPVs and high-risk HPVs.

Low-risk HPV types can cause warts on different parts of the body. They are usually not associated with cancer. For instance, HPV types 6 and 11 can be responsible for most cases of genital warts. The warts can be small, red, pink, brownish or flesh-colored and can resemble a cauliflower. Often, they develop several weeks or months after infection and can grow singly or in a cluster. In men, genital warts usually appear on the penis, groin, scrotum, thighs and anus. They can also feel bumpy, smooth or itchy to the touch. If you perform oral sex on a partner with genital warts, you can develop warts on the lips, mouth, tongue, or throat. These warts are called oral warts.

High-risk HPV types have been linked to certain types of cancer. In men, they can cause cancer of the penis, anus, throat, or head and neck. It can take 5 to 15 years for HPV to turn into cancer. This depends on how you treat the infection, and your immune system. Anal, penile and throat cancers are the most common cancers related to HPV in men.

Learn more: 7 Common Causes and Risk Factors for Anal Cancer

Anal warts

Anal warts

HPV Vaccine for Men- How Does It Work?

The HPV vaccine is currently available for both men and women. It can help protect against four types of HPV that cause genital warts and cancer, including:

  • type 6
  • type 11
  • type 16
  • type 18

The vaccine cannot protect you against all types of HPV. If you’ve been infected with a strain of HPV, the vaccine can’t help treat or prevent that strain. However, it can prevent you from getting some types of HPV that you haven’t had.

Currently, HPV vaccine for men includes Gardasil and Gardasil 9.

Gardasil can protect against HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18. If you’re vaccinated with it, you can be risk-free for genital warts, anal and penile cancer.

Gardasil 9 is designed to prevent 9 types of HPV. These are HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58. For men, this vaccine can help protect against genital warts and anal cancer.

Cervarix is also one of the most common vaccines to prevent HPV infections. It can help protect against HPV types 16 and 18, but is only recommended for women.

Learn more: 6 Vaccines Adults Should Certainly Get

Gardasil®9 HPV Vaccine for men

Gardasil®9 HPV Vaccine

How Is the HPV Vaccine Given to Boys and Men?

From the age of 9 to 12, all boys can get the HPV vaccine free as a school-based programme. During this time, if your child has not already been vaccinated, it’s not too late. He can still get it up to age 26. For the best protection, he may need all 3 doses. They’re usually given over a 4 to 12 month period.

To get the HPV vaccine, ask your GP. They may prescribe the vaccine for you. And usually, the HPV vaccine is given in your upper arm. The following men should get vaccinated:

  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • Transgender men under the age of 26
  • Men with weakened immune systems due to HIV and under 26

Learn more: Why More Teens Don’t Get Vaccinated for HPV

Does the HPV Vaccine Cause Side Effects?

The HPV vaccine for men has been licensed by FDA, which shows that it is safe. But in a few cases, the vaccine can cause side effects, such as:  

  • Redness, soreness and stinging in the arm
  • Fever, nausea and headaches
  • Rash or an allergic reaction to the vaccine

These side effects are usually mild and tend to occur more often in women than in men.

Side effects of HPV vaccine in men

Side effects of HPV vaccine

How Long Does the HPV Vaccine Protect Against Infection?

Boys and men who are vaccinated usually develop lifetime immunity from HPV infections. After vaccination, their immune system tends to be stronger and produces antibodies to ward off the virus. When they get older, they don’t need additional doses to stay protected.

Most studies have shown that HPV vaccines are safe and over 99% effective at preventing HPV infections. For more details, ask your doctor or your GP or nurse.

Learn more: Is It Possible to Heal HPV with Foods and Diet?

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