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Terrence Higgins Trust pushes for HPV vaccine for men

Charity speaks out to coincide with European Immunisation Week

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UK HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust has urged for the HPV vaccine to be extended to men who have sex with men “as a matter of urgency”.

The charity spoke about the impact of not vaccinating males against human papillomavirus (HPV) at the European Men's Health Forum's HPV Symposium in London, which coincided with European Immunisation Week. 

The vaccination programme against HPV began in 2008 for girls aged 12-13 years old to help prevent the risk of cervical cancer, but research since has found that cancers of the head, mouth, throat, penis and anus can also be caused by strains of the virus.

It is thought that heterosexual men gain indirect protection from the virus via intercourse with vaccinated women, but there is still a risk for women who were 18 years old in 2008 and the 15% of young girls not reached by the vaccination programme. 

The Trust addressed how the current programme offers no protection to men who have sex with men (MSM), who are at a high risk of HPV-related cancers that are known to spread via genital or oral contact.

Dr Shaun Griffin, executive director of external affairs at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “We believe that the HPV vaccine should be extended to all boys irrespective of their sexuality and to MSM as a matter of urgency. 

“This is why we are working with other health organisations as a member of HPV Action to call for the school HPV vaccination programme to include boys as well as girls.”

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

29th April 2015

From: Healthcare

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