HPV vaccine to be extended to boys not to leave gay men at risk

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A routine vaccination programme began in 2008 among school-age girls in the UK to tackle the human papilloma virus, which spreads through genital or oral contact and can cause different types of cancer. Men who have sex with women cannot be infected, especially if the woman is vaccinated. That is why there was a stereotype that men did not need vaccination. But the thing is that not all men have sex with women. If two unvaccinated men have sex with one another, they are at risk. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation this week published a report recommending that the vaccine is routinely extended to all children, regardless of sex. Addressing previous fears about cost, it said: “If considering a cost-effectiveness analysis where a combined girls’ and boys’ programme is compared to no vaccination, gender-neutral HPV vaccination is highly likely to be cost-effective.” The Welsh and Scottish governments have already vowed to implement the change. The UK government, which will decide the policy for England, says it will “carefully consider the JCVI’s advice” and provide an update shortly.

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