How effective is the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for men?

Jill A. Grimes, MD
Family Medicine

The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination can significantly reduce the incidence of genital warts in young men as well as young women, with minimal side effects.

A recent double-blind study involved over 4,000 boys/young men age 16-26, from 18 countries. Half received a placebo vaccine series and half real HPV vaccine. The study was partially funded by Merck, the manufacturer of the vaccine. That introduces some bias, but does not negate the study.

In the young men with unknown prior HPV status, the vaccine had an efficacy of 60%. In those known to be HPV negative initially, the efficacy was 90%. It is not surprising that the vaccine would appear to work better in those that did not already have some strain of HPV, and this supports the reasons to vaccinate youth before they are sexually active.