HPV Action welcomes the proposal to offer the HPV vaccination to MSM. MSM currently derive no benefit from a female-only vaccination programme and are at continued risk of HPV and its related cancers and diseases. MSM, and particularly HIV positive MSM, have a significant risk of developing HPV-related anal cancer. Offering HPV vaccination to MSM will reduce their risk of HPV-related cancers as well as genital warts. This will be particularly important for MSM who are HIV positive or at risk of HIV.
But the proposal is insufficient to address the problem of HPV infection in MSM generally and will do nothing to protect heterosexual men who will remain at risk of infection from unvaccinated women. Unlike girls who will be offered the vaccination in schools, boys who grow up to be MSM will only be vaccinated if they identify as MSM and attend a GUM clinic, by which point the vaccination will be less effective because of previous exposure to HPV infection and a weaker immune response. Boys who are heterosexual or who do not identify as MSM or attend a GUM clinic will have no protection. The only effective way to protect all MSM, as well as most other men, is through a universal gender-neutral vaccination programme targetting adolescents. HPV Action also believes that vaccinating all males will help to protect unvaccinated females.
HPV Action's full response to JCVI can be read here: