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There has been plenty of chatter among parents surrounding by the current recommendations by the ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices) who recently voted to recommend the routine use of the human papillomavirus quadrivalent vaccine (HPV 4) in boys aged 11 to 12 years. This is important news for our children.
This committee had previously discussed the use of HPV 4 in males. In 2009, the ACIP provided guidance stating the vaccine could be used in males 9 to 26 years of age, but did not state it should be routinely recommended.
The waters are no longer muddy: vaccinate both boys and girls.
HPV is the number one sexually transmitted disease in the United States and data shows that up to 50% of sexually active people will acquire HPV at some point in their lives.
Not everyone who gets HPV (a virus) can clear the infection and some individuals will go on to develop precancerous and cancerous lesions.
I've had many parents ask why should I vaccinate my child when they are only 11 years old? Of course YOUR child is not having sex at this age, some may not have even had THE TALK yet!
Unfortunately, there are kids having sex before they are ready and this includes children as young as 11 years (or even younger). In order for the vaccine to be most effective it must be given before your child is exposed to the virus. Therefore the recommendation is to give it at 11-12 years, although it is also approved to be used in children as young as 9 years if warranted. The vaccine does not treat disease, and it only prevents disease if you are vaccinated.
HPV is sexually transmitted and by immunizing both girls and boys the back and forth of this virus may be prevented. Until the vaccination rates are higher for both sexes there will not be a significant change in the rates of cervical cancer or genital warts.
With this latest recommendation one can hop
For years scientific studies have indicated that girls are entering puberty at a younger age. Now a new study, focused on boys, says they too are starting puberty up to 2 years earlier than the average age.
The study was conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP.) It involved more than 4,100 boys, aged 6 to 16, in 41 states. Pediatricians were recruited to participate in the study and reported their findings to the research network. Half of the boys were white, and the rest were evenly divided among African-American and Hispanic boys. The pediatrician visits took place between 2005 and 2010.
What the researchers found was that the white boys started puberty at age 10, a full year and a half earlier than what has been considered the normal average. The African-American boys started puberty at about 9 years of age, about 2 years earlier than the average. The Hispanic boys were about 10 years old -the average age for boys of Mexican American heritage. The new study also included boys from other Hispanic backgrounds.
Puberty development was measured by examining the size of the boys testes and the start of pubic hair growth. Testes enlargement was seen at age 6 in nine-percent of white boys, almost 20 percent in African-American boys, and seven-percent in Hispanic boys.
Pubic hair growth started about a year later than testicle enlargement in all groups. That's about the normal time pubic hair growth begins, but it began at an earlier age in conjunction with the testes growth.
So what does this mean for young boys?
"If it's true that boys are starting puberty younger, it's not clear that means anything negative or has any implications for long-term," said Adelman, a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' committee on adolescence. But it might be advantageous for parents to talk their young boys sooner about the birds and bees. Children this young are not always prepared for the