HPV Action’s new report ‘JABS FOR THE BOYS: The case for gender-neutral HPV vaccination’ urges swift movement on this issue. The report is backed by a statement of support co-signed by over 100 experts in the field of HPV and its related diseases including Professor Harald zur Hausen (recipient of the Nobel Prize for medicine for his work on the link between HPV and cervical cancer), Professor Mike Lewis (Professor of Oral Medicine and Dean, School of Dentistry, Cardiff University), Dr John McSorley (Consultant in Genitourinary & HIV Medicine, London North West Hospitals NHS Trust) and Professor Margaret Stanley (Professor of Epithelial Biology, University of Cambridge).
HPV Action believes that the UK national HPV vaccination programme should include both boys and girls to prevent a range of HPV-related conditions, including genital warts and 5% of all cancers. This would improve public health, tackle health inequalities and be cost-effective. Every year of delay leaves almost 400,000 boys unvaccinated and therefore left at risk from HPV-related diseases, which include anal, penile, oral, head and neck cancers alongside genital warts.
Peter Baker, Campaign Director of HPV Action said: ‘The government’s vaccination advisory committee (JCVI) has put back making a recommendation on vaccinating boys until 2017. This could mean that, even if a decision is made then to vaccinate boys, it will not be implemented until 2020, seven years after the JCVI began to look at the issue. Just from today until 2020, a total of over two million more unvaccinated boys are left at risk of cancer and genital warts.’
Grahame Morris MP, Vice Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Cancer, Baroness Gould of Potternewton Chair, APPG on Sexual and Reproductive Health in the UK, and Sir Paul Beresford MP Chair, APPG on Dentistry, are hosting a meeting today in Parliament to discuss how faster progress can be made.
Baroness Gould of Potternewton Chair, APPG on Sexual and Reproductive Health in the UK said of this issue ‘The non-vaccination of boys is of great issue and concern, as it has become evident that in fact, it has serious public health consequences. HPV is very easily acquired and it is reckoned that most women and men will acquire it at some time during their lives, with 1 in 3 people in the UK currently infected. Every month, more parents, medical providers, public policy makers and members of the public add their voice in the call to protect boys from HPV. This is an equality issue - equality in access to the same protection for boys and girls against preventable cancers. It is only through protecting all young people that we will end HPV-related diseases for good."
Grahame Morris MP, Vice Chair, All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Cancer also commented that ‘Extending the HPV vaccination programme to include adolescent boys, is an essential step in protecting them from life-threatening cancer and disease, caused by this preventable virus. By protecting boys as well as girls from HPV, we will likely provide long-term savings in treatment and care, which far outweigh the cost of including boys in this vaccination programme - I hope the Government act swiftly, making the right decision and protecting our children.’
LINK: It's time for gender-neutral HPV vaccination
LINK: Jabs for the boys: The case for gender-neutral HPV vaccination