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A pediatrician gives an HPV vaccination to a 13-year-old girl.
The CDC says that boys as young as 11 should be given the controversial STD vaccination.

A federal advisory panel is recommending that boys as young as 11 years old be given the controversial HPV vaccination shot currently given to girls to prevent cervical cancer.

CNN reports that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted in favor of the recommendation at a meeting in Atlanta on Tuesday. Twelve members of the panel backed the measure, with one abstaining.

As the Associated Press notes, the advantages of vaccinating boys is thought to be twofold: It would protect boys against genital warts and some kinds of cancers, while also potentially curbing the spread of HPV to girls.

The vaccine has been approved for males since 2009, and the American Academy of Pediatrics added it to its list of recommended vaccines for boys last year. Still, it hasn't been heavily promoted for boys, with the lion's share of attention surrounding the HPV shots instead being devoted to the debate over whether the government should mandate the vaccination for girls.

Human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the U.S. Roughly half of active people are thought to get it at some point in their lives. The HPV vaccine is already recommended for females between the ages of 9 and 26 to cut down on the risk of cervical cancer, and the CDC recommends that girls be given the vaccination at the age of 11 or 12.