While Gardasil—the only HPV vaccine to protect young women from cervical cancer—has been around since 2006, with roughly one quarter of adolescent girls getting the shots, researchers are now testing it on men.

Genital human papillomavirus (HPV), commonly called genital warts, is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause cervical cancer. Because male-to-female transmission of HPV impacts women’s risk of cancer, researchers from H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute wanted to find out if the vaccine worked in men. Researchers evaluated a group of 290 men, ages18 to 44, over a period of 20 months. At the beginning of the study, 30 percent of the participants had a type of HPV infection. During the course of the study close to half of the men were infected—and nearly a third of them had the HPV type known to cause cancer.

Anna R. Giuliano, MD, the study’s lead researcher, believes that if the HPV vaccines are successful in men, they could decrease their rate of infection and reduce the risk for their sexual partners.  

Are you still on the fence about Gardasil? Read RH’s “Is Gardasil Good Enough for Your Girls?