Doctors in the UK are recommending that the national campaign to vaccinate young girls against HPV, a virus that can cause cervical cancer, be extended to include young gay men.
HPV vaccinations provide protection against the two most common strains of the virus, which can cause cervical and anal cancer. The campaign to encourage vaccination was introduced in Britain in 2008, but restricted to young women.
In a letter to Minister for Health Anna Soubry, the British Medical Association acknowledges that nationwide vaccination for boys “is not economically viable in the UK.” But urges that it be made available to young gay men who visit sex-health clinics because of an “alarming increase in anal cancer in gay men,” with an annual 1% to 3% increase of cases being reported in the developed world.
Gardasil, the vaccine currently being used in the UK, also protects against genital warts—an SDI that can affect both men and women.
Australia introduced HPV vaccination with Gardasil for girls ages 13 to 14 in 2004, and has now extended it to boys in the same age bracket.