Boys Need the HPV Vaccine Too! The HPV Vaccine is Smart and Safe for Everyone!
Do you know who gives most women and girls HPV? The answer is men and boys! Yep, you heard it here. Make sure your boy has started his HPV vaccine regime by age 12 at the latest and completes the series of three shots. He needs to be vaccinated before he starts engaging in sexual activity to protect himself from oral, anal and penile cancers and to protect his female partners from cancer as well.
If this hasn’t convinced you, just make sure your child is well informed so he can decide for himself, later, if he wants to get it. And by well informed, I mean by giving him youth-friendly resources that are from credible resources. You should also know that in California, his medical care provider can vaccinate him without your permission if your son decides he wants it.
HPV is one of the most communicable STIs out there. There are many types of HPV- some types cause genital warts and cancer. Nearly every adult who’s had more than one or two partners has had it. Because there is no test to find out a person’s ‘HPV status’ your son won’t know if he has it or if his partner has it – unless of course he or his partner develops visible genital warts or if his female partner has an abnormal Pap test.
This is one of many, many reasons it’s important for your kids to know about condoms. What they are, where to get them (having them in your home and available would be great!) and how to use them. There should be no excuses about not having one when they need one. If you think this will encourage your child to have sex, it won’t. It will just help them be safer when they do have sex down the road. They are going to have sex whether or not you have condoms available. Sorry to break the news to you - but they will, someday, do the deed. And it’s better for everyone if they do it safely.
HOWEVER, while using condoms each and every time a person has sex will lower that person’s chances of getting HPV, HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom. So your son (or daughter’s) best protection really is getting the HPV vaccine series before they are sexually active.
About the Author
A sexual health educator for over 20 years, Amy Lang, MA teaches parents of all beliefs how to talk to kids of any age about the birds and the bees. She is the author of the award winning book Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids – A Guide to Sharing Your Beliefs About Sexuality, Love, and Relationships and Dating Smarts: What Every Teen Needs to Date, Relate or Wait. She created the lively and engaging video Birds + Bees + Kids – The Basics so parents can learn how to talk to their kids about sex and values without leaving the couch! Amy is still married to her first husband and they are getting the hang of parenting their teenage son. She lives in Seattle, WA. Learn more at BirdsAndBeesAndKids.com.