A new publication entitled “Who will benefit from expanding HPV vaccination programs to boys?” authored by experts of the Decision Modeling Center has recently been made available on the JNCI Cancer Spectrum. The short communication paper assessed how the health gains from vaccinating boys against oncogenic HPV infections distribute between women, heterosexual men and men who have sex with men (MSM).
The researchers used a Bayesian synthesis framework and assumed a vaccine coverage among boys equal to the coverage achieved among girls. The results showed that below 60% vaccine coverage in both girls and boys, at least 50% of the cancer cases prevented from boys’ vaccination were attributable to cervical cancer, whereas at 80% coverage, 50% of the prevented cases were attributable to women, 15% to heterosexual men, and 35% to MSM. Above 90% coverage, 85-100% of the health gains from boys’ vaccination were attributable to anal and oropharyngeal cancer prevention, mainly in MSM.
Sex-neutral vaccination against oncogenic HPV infections can be advocated on grounds of promoting herd protection to women and directly protecting men, particularly MSM, with the significance of either argument determined by the achieved vaccine coverage.