The Royal Society for Public Health has called for the HPV vaccine to be made available to gay men in gyms – in exchange for free gym membership.
The call came ahead of a meeting next month of the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation, which will evaluate extending the vaccine to boys.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause several cervical, penile, anal and throat cancers, as well as genital and anal warts – but a vaccination programme is only offered to girls at present.
Heterosexual men gain protection from the virus through herd immunity if women are vaccinated, but no such protection is afforded to gay and bisexual men.
As three doses of the vaccine are required, the RSPH has called for settings including “pharmacies, gyms or Universities” to be used to distribute the vaccine, outside of sexual health clinics.
It continues: “In addition to exploring the setting in which a vaccination is offered, research on hepatitis B suggests that offering incentives, such as small amounts of cash and supermarket vouchers can help encourage individuals to complete the full dose of treatment.
“A range of incentives appropriate for the setting could be introduced.
“For example, those accessing the vaccine through a gym could receive a free period of gym membership as an incentive to complete all doses; or students could be offered food vouchers to be used within the university.”