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University to Target Men With HPV Vaccine

University to Target Men With HPV Vaccine

The health center at the University of Maryland, College Park, plans to take part in a national campaign to promote the Gardasil human papillomavirus vaccine to young men.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the use of Merck & Co.'s Gardasil in in October 2009 for males ages 9 to 26 to prevent genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11. Most Gardasil advertising to date has targeted women because it also prevents the two HPV types linked to 70% of cervical cancer cases.

"The biggest misconception about Gardasil is that it is only for women and that it is only for preventing cervical cancer," said Alli Matson, the center's sexual health programs coordinator. "Obviously if you do not have a cervix, you are not going to think that this applies to you."

"I've never heard that it's for men," said Dale Kim, a freshman studying general business and management. "The whole commercial has only women in it."

"I personally think that they should advertise that they have the vaccine for men but also include some of the negative effects of it because there are a lot of controversies surrounding [Gardasil]," said Aman Chopra, a freshman.

Once national advertising to males begins and further data on Gardasil's effect among men are published, the health center will focus more on promoting the vaccine to men. The center offers the three-shot series for $450, which is covered by the university's health plan and most others, Matson said.

"We are going to do what we can to make sure that [the vaccine] is available," Matson said.

Headache, fever, and pain at the injection site, itching, redness, swelling, and bruising were the most common Gardasil side effects observed, according to FDA.

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