British Medical Association to lobby for HPV injections for all sexes in primary school
The largest doctor’s union in the UK has voted to lobby for HPV injections for all sexes in primary school.
The British Medical Association will now campaign for the introduction of the potentially lifesaving vaccination for all schoolchildren in a bid to protect men who have sex with men.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) can cause several types of cancer, and is spread through HPV through genital or oral contact.
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.
A vaccination programme against the virus began in 2008 in the UK, but only among girls, on the grounds that this would curb the spread of the infection to boys as well.
The motion, which was proposed by Dr Lucy-Jane Davis and supported by medical student David Clayton, said that the move is an “important step” in eradicating the virus.
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“I commend the introduction of the HPV vaccine for MSM in the UK in sexual health clinics, however there are a few notable barriers in its delivery for MSM (men who have sex with men),” Clayton told PinkNews.
“Recipients must be comfortable in self-identification as an MSM; comfortable in disclosing their sexual orientation to a healthcare provider and be actively engaged with local sexual health services themselves. Thus it is inevitable that there will be MSM in the UK that will fail to access this highly beneficial vaccine.”
“The vaccine is most beneficial when administered prior to sexual debut – however the minimum age requirement of 16 also means the recipient is more likely to be sexually experienced and therefore have prior HPV exposure.
“Equity of access to the vaccine through a vaccine programme of all schoolchildren regardless of gender or sexuality is an important step towards eradication of HPV-related disease especially in the MSM population,” he added.