According to doctors, very few young men have administered the HPV vaccine.

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According to experts, the HPV vaccine is not reaching enough young American men.

The vaccine protects against all genital warts and cancers caused by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection in the United States.

Many young women receive the HPV vaccine to help protect them against cervical cancer, but the number of young men receiving the vaccine is much smaller, according to the Michigan Medicine-University of Michigan researchers.

In 2006, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the vaccine for women, and in 2009, it was extended to include men.

When the HPV vaccine was first introduced, the main goal was to prevent cervical cancer.

But oropharyngeal cancer — which occurs in the throat, tonsils and back of the tongue — has now surpassed cervical cancer as the most common cancer caused by HPV. Men account for 80% of those diagnoses, the researchers noted.

Study author Dr. Michelle Chen, a clinical lecturer in the department of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Michigan Medicine, noted that “young adult men especially, who are less likely to have a primary care doctor, are often not getting health education about things like cancer prevention vaccines.”

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According to an overview of data from the 2010-2018 National Health Interview Surveys, only 16% of men aged 18-21 had received at least one dose of the HPV vaccine at any age, compared to 42% of women in the same age range.

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends two doses of the vaccine at the ages of 11 or 12, but the vaccine only protects patients who get three doses until the age of 26.

However, the study discovered that for people vaccinated after the age of 18, fewer than a third of men and about half of women got all three vaccine doses.

“Eighteen- to 21-year-olds are at this age where they’re making health care decisions on their own for the first time,” Chen said in a university news release.

“I don’t think that a lot of people, both providers and patients, are aware that this vaccine is actually a cancer-prevention vaccine for men as well as women,” she added. “But HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer can impact anyone — and there’s no good screening for it, which makes vaccination even more important.”

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More informationThe U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on HPV vaccines.

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