P.E.I. is expanding its human papilloma virus vaccination program to include grade six boys.

Girls have been receiving the HPV vaccine since 2007. HPV is the most common sexually-transmitted infection among young adults. It can lead to genital warts and in girls, cervical cancer.


HPV vaccines for boys will protect girls as well, says Dr. Lamont Sweet. (CBC)

For boys it can also lead to cancers of the mouth, throat and genital area.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Lamont Sweet said vaccinating the boys will not only protect them, it'll also lead to fewer women dying from cervical cancer.

"Boys can be the source of the virus for their female partners," said Sweet.

"By preventing boys from carrying the virus, you in turn will prevent girls from getting the virus which causes cervical cancer."

The new program won't cost more than the original vaccination program, he said, because the price of the vaccine is half what it used to be. The cost of vaccinations for Island girls has been $280,000 a year, with about 85 per cent of girls vaccinated.

Health Minister Doug Currie said P.E.I. is the first province to offer the vaccine to boys. Nancy Bickford, public affairs for the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, was pleased by the news.

"The SOGC welcomes this move and in fact will be contacting other provincial and territorial ministers of health to follow P.E.I.'s lead," Bickford said.

For mobile device users: If you had a boy in grade six, would you get him the HPV vaccine?