24 feb. 2012

Protecting every girl—and boy


Protecting  every  girl—and  boy

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“Herd immunity” is a theory in immunology that holds that an entire population doesn’t need to get vaccinated against an infectious disease because once a significant portion of that population is vaccinated, even the un-vaccinated will be protected. As more and more people are vaccinated against an infectious disease such as polio, say, or measles, the chances of new infections among even the unprotected begin to fall.
Of course, the ideal is universal vaccination (who wants to take chances, right?). But as theorists of herd immunity propose, “in contagious diseases that are transmitted from individual to individual, chains of infection are likely to be disrupted when large numbers of a population are immune or less susceptible to disease” since there is less probability that an individual would come into contact with an infectious individual.
Herd immunity is one reason medical authorities now propose giving the anti-HPV vaccines to men and boys apart from women and girls. The HPV or human papillomavirus has been identified as causing over 80 percent of all cases of cervical cancer, a disease that afflicts only women. But as Dr. Ricardo Manalastas of UP-PGH pointed out in a talk at a recent Scientific Meeting of
AOGIN-Philippines, HPV, which Manalastas described as “ubiquitous” or common in humans, (it is also responsible for genital warts) has been implicated in other forms of cancer as well: penile and anal cancer and oral and oropharyngeal (mouth and throat) cancer among men; and vulvar and genital cancers among women.
But even if one were concerned only with cervical cancer, Manalastas points out that if men and boys were likewise vaccinated against HPV, then the chances of a woman being infected with HPV and risking cervical cancer (HPV is sexually transmitted) would fall as well. Vaccinated males would also in turn protect MSMs or men having sex with men, a side benefit.
The good news is that HPV vaccination for men and boys has already been approved by the local Food and Drug Administration. There are currently two types of HPV vaccines: the bivalent, which protects against infection by the two most common cancer-causing types of HPV; and the quadrivalent, which protects not just against the two most common cancer-causing types, but also the two most common types that cause genital warts.
http://opinion.inquirer.net/23645/protecting-every-girl—and-boy
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