A federal advisory committee voted on [10/25/2011] to recommend that boys aged 11 and 12 be vaccinated against human papillomavirus, or HPV, to protect against anal cancer and cancers of the mouth and neck. The new guidance mirrors that for girls aged 11 and 12, who have been advised since 2006 to receive routine HPV vaccinations.

The HPV vaccine is already approved by the government for males aged 9 to 26 to prevent genital warts and anal cancer, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) had not issued a formal recommendation for routine vaccination in boys until now.

In part, that's because when the vaccine was approved for use in boys and men in 2009, there wasn't enough evidence to justify the cost of population-wide vaccination. The HPV vaccine is expensive, costing hundreds of dollars for the three-dose series.

Since 2009, however, studies have provided additional information on the benefits of vaccinating boys, helping to lead to the ACIP's current, unanimous decision.

For more information on the HPV vaccination, go toHealthland.Time.com.