Should boys be included in the HPV vaccination programme? - A response from Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust

Mon, 24/11/2014 - 12:00

HPV is a common virus in both men and women and high risk types of HPV can cause cervical cancer in women as well as other cancers such as anal, mouth/throat (oropharyngeal cancer) as well as cancer of the penis in men. Other types of HPV cause genital warts, however these types do not cause cancer. Currently in the UK, girls are routinely vaccinated against the two high risk types (that cause 70% of cervical cancer) at age 12/13. There are now growing calls for boys to be offered the HPV vaccine as well.

Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust currently supports a gender neutral HPV vaccination programme. This view is based on current evidence which suggests that vaccinating both girls and boys at a young age may be the best way to achieve the greatest protection for females against the risk of cervical cancer. Furthermore extending the vaccine to boys will provide universal protection to both sexes from many other HPV related cancers and also protect men who have sex with men (MSM). Extending the vaccine and addressing this inequality is the most effective option for improving public health overall. This view is informed by leading health experts that the charity closely works with.

On 13th November 2014 the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised a programme that vaccinates MSM aged 16-40 should be considered, provided it is cost effective. A final recommendation is expected in early 2015. An assessment of a vaccination programme which includes all adolescent boys is due to start early 2015.

For further information on the campaign for vaccinating boys visit: http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/11November/Pages/HPV-vaccine-could-be-offered-to-boys.aspx

To read the JCVI recommendation visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/373531/JCVI_interim_statement_HPV_vacc.pdf