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Cost-effectiveness of extending the HPV vaccination to boys: a systematic review


Background Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection can have severe consequences both in women and men. Preadolescent girls are vaccinated against HPV worldwide but a gender-neutral vaccination is being adopted only little by little. This systematic review offers an overview of cost-effectiveness of the gender-neutral HPV vaccination.

Methods Economic evaluations of gender-neutral HPV vaccination with a two-dose schedule compared with girls-only strategy were systematically searched in Medline, Embase and WOS up to June 2020. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios and key parameters were analysed.

Results Nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Four studies concluded in favour of the gender-neutral programme, another four found it cost-effective only in alternative scenarios. The most influential parameters are the discount rate of benefits (same as for costs vs reduced), vaccine price (listed vs publicly negotiated) and included health problems (inclusion of oropharyngeal and penile cancers). Sponsorship was not decisive for the final result, but there were differences between industry-funded and independent studies in some cost categories.

Conclusions The evidence of the cost-effectiveness of extending HPV vaccination to boys is scarce and ambiguous. Before the adoption of such a strategy, countries should carry out context-specific cost-effectiveness analyses, but the decision should also take into account other criteria, such as gender-related equality.

  • cost effective
  • systematic review
  • vaccination
  • prevention
  • sexually transmitted diseases

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