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Cervical cancer vaccine can help men

September 7, 2009 3:25:35 PM PDT
A vaccine used in the fight against cervical cancer can also be used to block the viruses that cause genital warts in men.That's according to the Food and Drug Administration which found that Gardasil, made by Merck, had a 90 percent success rate in preventing genital warts in men.

The vaccine blocks the human papilloma virus or HPV.

There is currently no vaccine licensed to prevent HPV-related diseases in men. Merck is seeking FDA approval for Gardasil for boys and men ages 9 to 26.

According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are approximately 40 types of genital HPV. The CDC says most people who contract HPV do not realize they are infected because they do not develop symptoms or health problems.

Certain strains can cause genital warts while other strains can cause cervical cancer. According to the CDC, Gardasil has already been known to protect women from the four types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers and genital warts.

An estimated 20 million Americans currently have HPV, and another 6.2 million people become infected each year.Side effects associated with the vaccine are considered to be mild.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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