Boys should get HPV cancer jab too, experts say

Public health bodies are calling for a universal vaccine for both girls and boys in the UK

Public and sexual health bodies are calling for boys to receive the HPV vaccine already offered to girls to protect them from cervical cancer.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is associated with different forms of cancer, including cancer of the penis, vagina and mouth, and spreads through sexual contact.

Girls aged 12-13 are offered the HPV vaccination whilst at school in the UK, but the Faculty of Public Health and the British Association for Sexual Health has said that boys should also be routinely offered the jab.

HPV vaccinations currently provide protection against the two most common strains of the virus, which can cause cervical and anal cancer. The existing vaccine Cervarix was replaced with Gardasil in September 2012, which also protects against genital warts.

Speaking to the BBC, Prof John Ashton, the head of the Faculty of Public Health, said: “It seems oral sex has become a very common part of the repertoire in young people and it does seem a likely part of the story of increases in oral cancer.

“We really need to discuss oral sex as part of sex education in schools and to look closely at extending the vaccine to all men.”

There are currently more than 1,000 cases of oropharyngeal cancer diagnosed a year, double the number of cases seen annually during the 1990s.

He said having a reduced cancer risk because of the vaccine would be particularly beneficial for gay men.

In February the Throat Cancer Charity called for a universal HPV vaccination and urged the Government to extend the programme to all 12-year-olds, as HPV has been linked to oral sex.

The British Medical Association joined the debate in January by writing  to Anna Soubry, minister for Health, urging her to introduce HPV vaccinations for young gay men attending sexual health clinics, warning that there is an “alarming increase in anal cancer in gay men”.

HPV vaccination with Gardasil, which also protects against genital warts, was introduced for girls in Australia in 2004 before being extended to boys in 2012. Australia is the only country to offer the vaccine to both girls and boys.

Despite numerous calls for a universal vaccine, the Department of Health has said it has no plans to extend the programme to boys, a decision they say is based on "an assessment of currently available scientific evidence".

“Vaccination of boys was not recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation because once 80 per cent coverage among girls has been achieved, there is little benefit in vaccinating boys to prevent cervical cancer in girls.”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

    £28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

    £22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

    £13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

    £20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

    Day In a Page

    A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

    A nap a day could save your life

    A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
    If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

    If men are so obsessed by sex...

    ...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

    Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

    The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
    The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

    Rolling in the deep

    The bathing machine is back but with a difference
    Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

    Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

    Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory