HPV: What about the boys?

In 2007, when the Federal government mandated that the quadrivalent HPV vaccine Gardasil be given to all young women and girls, I  seriously thought about vaccinating my boys.  Two people I knew have had run-ins with the Human Papilloma Virus.  One was a man my age who got a throat cancer which was viral in origin.  The other was a  woman who fell in love with a man that had vaginal warts caused by the HPV, and she  paid for her own Gardasil series before they had sex.
In 2007, my youngest was 17, and over six feet tall, and a junior in high school. I could not even get him to do his homework. How could I get him to agree to series of three shots, painful shots, administered over the course of 6 months?
The recent press and new guidelines about giving Gardasil to boys moved me to talk to my gynecologist, Tanya Spirtos, M.D., about it today. Tanya is a big deal. She is a great doctor, and  a trustee of the California Medical Association. She is in favor of giving it to boys and men. “There is a lot more anal and oral sex now than when we were young,” she said.  ‘You have the Farrah Fawcett syndrome.’
“What?” I said.
“Nobody talks about it, but Farrah Fawcett died of anal cancer. There aren’t that many reasons for anal cancer.”
Tanya vaccinated her daughter 4 years ago, and is now for her son, her daughters’ twin brother, to come home from college so she can vaccinate him herself.
I wish I had spoken to Tanya,  before I talked to my older son about Gardasil. He is a very nice young man and we have  good relationship, but the subject was so awkward  that at one point I just stuck my head out the window (we were in the car) and had a good shriek, so I could let off steam and get back to the topic.
My older son is in a committed relationship with a woman who has had the Gardasil vaccination already.  Today Tanya told me it would be a waste of money for him to get the vaccine, HPV would not enter their bodies unless one or the other of them cheats and brings it into the relationship that way.  I wish I spoken to her first.
When I brought up the topic with my younger son, who is not involved with anyone yet, he cut the conversation short.
“Mom,” he said. Can we not talk about this when I’m eating?”
The only thing I can do, Tanya tells me, to protect him against catching HPV is bring up the subject of HPV with any girl he brings home in the future, and make sure she is vaccinated. 
OK, that is my plan. Son, can you hear me?

About Onecakebaker

Author of a memoir called The Girl On the Wall, and working on a novel. Former Synagogue president, gardener, empty nester. Raising bees.
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1 Response to HPV: What about the boys?

  1. theonlycin says:

    My daughter had the Gardasil vaccine, I am glad 🙂

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