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.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
life
News
news

The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president

Voices
A mother and her child
voices
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballI have never seen the point of lambasting the fourth official, writes Paul Scholes
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

    Recruitment Genius: External Relations Executive

    £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...

    Ashdown Group: Web Developer (PHP & Wordpress) - Central London

    £25000 - £28000 per annum + 25 days holidays & pension: Ashdown Group: Web Dev...

    Recruitment Genius: Production Operative - Unskilled & Skilled

    £7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has arisen to jo...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee