Public health value of universal HPV vaccination

Riccardo A. Audisio, Giancarlo Icardi, Andrea M. Isidori, Carlo A. Liverani, Alberto Lombardi, Luciano Mariani, Francesco Saverio Mennini, David A. Mitchell, Andrea Peracino, Sergio Pecorelli, Giovanni Rezza, Carlo Signorelli, Giovanni Vitali Rosati, Gian Vincenzo Zuccotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The story of Human Papillomavirus vaccination demands reflection not only for its public health impact on the prophylactic management of HPV disease, but also for its relevant economic and social outcomes. Greater than ever data confirm the efficacy and support the urge for effective vaccination plans for both genders before sexual debut. Methods: A review of previous experience in gender-restricted vaccination programs has demonstrated a lower effectiveness. Limiting vaccination to women might increase the psychological burden on women by confirming a perceived inequality between genders; and even if all women were immunized, the HPV chain of transmission would still be maintained through men. Results: The cost-effectiveness of including boys into HPV vaccination programs should be re-assessed in view of the progressive drop of the economic burden of HPV-related diseases in men and women due to universal vaccination. The cost of the remarkable increase in anal and oropharyngeal HPV driven cancers in both sexes has been grossly underestimated or ignored. Conclusions: Steps must be taken by relevant bodies to achieve the target of universal vaccination. The analysis of HPV vaccination's clinical effectiveness vs. economic efficacy are supportive of the economic sustainability of vaccination programs both in women and men.In Europe, these achievements demand urgent attention to the social equity for both genders in healthcare. There is sufficient ethical, scientific, strategic and economic evidence to urge the European Community to develop and implement a coordinated and comprehensive strategy aimed at both genders and geographically balanced, to eradicate cervical cancer and other diseases caused by HPV in Europe.Policymakers must take into consideration effective vaccination programs in the prevention of cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-167
Number of pages11
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Boys
  • Cancer prevention
  • Herd immunity
  • HPV
  • Vaccination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Hematology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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