Welcoming Wales but what’s next for HPV?
We're reiterating our calls for the HPV vaccine to be made available to all school-aged boys across the UK.
Earlier this month, Wales led the UK by becoming the first country in the UK to roll out routine vaccinations against Human papilloma virus (HPV) to men who have sex with men. This is a great step in the right direction that will help combat head and neck cancer, anal and penile cancer, as well as genital warts.
But this week, during World Immunisation Week, we’re reiterating our calls for the HPV vaccine to be made available to all school-aged boys across the UK. Only this will help stop genital infections from HPV.
Wales are now protecting gay and bisexual men up to the age of 45 by offering them the HPV vaccine on the NHS. This, as well as vaccinating school-aged girls, is great news. It goes further than England, who are currently conducting a HPV vaccine pilot for men who have sex with men.
The trial in England is a postcode lottery, where you can only get it in certain areas – plus we have been given no assurances that gay and bisexual men will be able to get the vaccine after the pilot has ended, despite the mountain of evidence for its benefit.
This July, England is expected to make a recommendation on whether all 14-year-old boys should be offered the vaccination. We want the recommendation/decision to be positive (or something similar). Only this way can we ensure all of our young people are protected.
Vaccinating gay men, bisexual men and all boys is in the interest of public health, vital to individuals to prevent potentially fatal illness, and is a basic issue of equality.
Time is ticking - we want and need a gender-neutral HPV vaccine so that all young people can benefit from it.
Our campaigns: Extend HPV vaccine to men and boys
|Alex Phillips is Campaigns and Parliamentary Officer at Terrence Higgins Trust.|