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On September 9th, a Food and Drug Administration committee issued a recommendation that the Gardasil vaccine manufactured by Merck be given to males between the ages of 9 and 26 to prevent genital warts. John Kriesel, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Utah School of Medicine approves of the recommendation according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Kriesel believes that more consistent widespread use of the vaccine offers the potential of reducing cervical cancer in females and, perhaps, eliminating genital warts in both sexes over a couple of generations. Gardasil is a vaccine aimed at preventing human papillomavirus infections that cause genital warts and related cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers. Girls and women are screened the infections but males are not because there is no easy and effective method of doing so. A vaccine eliminates the need for the screening.

Gardasil is not cheap so cost is will remain an issue. It is administered in a three shot series over the course of six months and the series runs in the neighborhood of $375. While many insurance plans cover the vaccine, many do not. And then, of course, there are the uninsured who have little hope of receiving the vaccine. Perhaps that will change if meaningful health care reform comes to pass.

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