Final approval given to HPV vaccine for men who have sex with men
Today final approval was given to recommendations that the vaccination against HPV should be given to men who have sex with men.
A vaccination programme began in 2008 among school-age girls to tackle the human papilloma virus, which spreads through genital or oral contact and can cause cancers.
Only girls were vaccinated on the grounds that men who only have sex with women would also be protected from transmission through ‘herd immunity’ – but the move left gay men without any protection from HPV.
After the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation last year suggested that the vaccine be extended, this week the JCVI has confirmed recommendations that the vaccine be made available to men who have sex with men under the age of 45.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “The HPV vaccination programme for girls is really important and expected to prevent hundreds of deaths from cervical cancer every year.”
“We welcome this advice on the benefits and complexities of extending the programme to other groups and will consider the JCVI’s advice carefully and confirm our plans in due course.”
Speaking to PinkNews, Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said: “The campaign to extend HPV vaccinations to men who have sex with men has finally paid off. The JCVI has now agreed the programme and I’m delighted MSM will now be offered protection from HPV related cancers.”
The JCVI officially confirmed last week that “a targeted HPV vaccination programme for MSM aged up to 45 who attend GUM and HIV clinics should be undertaken.”
It adds that it should also be offered to at-risk groups including transgender women, sex workers, HIV-positive women, and HIV-positive men.
However, campaigners have called for an even wider rollout, vaccinating all school-age boys.