Should You Get the HPV Vaccination?

We understand that all of you have been offered the HPV vaccination series. You were probably told that you are being offered this vaccination so that you will not spread HPV disease to your future wife or other loved ones. There are some special health issues relating to men who have sex with men and HPV.

As a man who who engages in sex with other men, there are complications with HPV that your straight peers do not face, particularly throat and anal cancers brought on by HPV. The risks of these cancers are increased further for those who are infected with HIV. (Although you probably don’t plan on acquiring HIV, you are not at zero risk if you engage in sex with other men.) According to the CDC, the HPV vaccine Gardasil is recommended for all males through aged 11-21. The vaccine is also recommended for gay and bisexual men (or any man who has sex with men), and men with compromised immune systems (including HIV) through age 26, if they did not get fully vaccinated when they were younger. The vaccine is most effective when given at younger ages. Gardasil works by preventing four common HPV types, two that cause most genital warts and two that cause cancers, including anal cancer. It protects against new HPV infections; it does not cure existing HPV infections or disease (like genital warts). Learn more at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/STDFact-HPV-and-men.htm

We strongly recommend that you take it the series as soon as offered and if at all possible before you engage in sex with others. Once exposed to HPV strains, it is too late to get vaccinated.