SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Vaccinating boys against human papillomavirus can help protect them from genital warts, U.S. researchers say.
Genital warts are among the sexually transmitted diseases linked to the human papillomavirus. The HPV vaccine was first approved in 2006 for girls to prevent cervical cancer.
Study leader Dr. Joel Palefsky of the University of California, San Francisco, and Anna Giuliano of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Tampa, Fla., conducted a four-year trial of the vaccine in young men.
The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found HPV could prevent 90 percent of genital warts in men when offered before exposure to the four human papillomavirus strains covered by the vaccine. Effectiveness in the general population of young men -- regardless of prior exposure to these strains -- was nearly 66 percent.
"This is an exciting development in the STD world," Palefsky said in a statement. "It shows that if we vaccinate males early enough, we should be able to prevent most cases of external genital warts in this population."