Gardasil debate shifts as attention turns to boys

With Merck moving to obtain approval to market the HPV vaccine Gardasil to boys, health policy experts note that the discussion regarding vaccinating boys is far different from the heated arguments that surrounded approving the vaccine for girls.

For girls, much of the debate was focused on whether or not the vaccine would promote promiscuity. For boys, the central issues are whether or not the drug is cost effective and safe enough.

"We are still more worried about the promiscuity of girls than the promiscuity of boys," Susan M. Reverby, a professor of women's studies and medical history at Wellesley College, tells the Washington Post. "There's still that double standard."

Merck wants to gain an approval to use the vaccine to protect boys from genital warts as well as cancers of the mouth and throat along with penile and anal cancers. And getting more boys vaccinated, advocates say, will also significantly reduce the amount of the virus that can spread--with lethal consequences--to girls.

- read the article in the Washington Post