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HPV vaccination to be offered to men who have sex with men

Vaccination programme will be rolled out from April 2018

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 06 February 2018

A nationwide HPV vaccination programme for men aged 45 or younger who have sex with other men is to be rolled out from April 2018, the government has confirmed.

HPV is transmitted through sexual contact, and is most commonly associated with causing cervical cancer in women. A vaccination programme against HPV has been offered to girls aged 11 to 13 since 2008, and this provides some indirect protection to boys.

However, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have recognised increasing evidence of the association between HPV infection and non-cervical cancers in men who have sex with men (MSM). MSM do not benefit from indirect protection from the vaccination programme for girls.

As a result, a vaccination pilot started in 42 specialist sexual health services clinics from June 2016. The pilot assessed the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of a national HPV vaccination programme for MSM.

NHS England and Public Health England (PHE) will work to start a phased nationwide rollout from April 2018 to men who have sex with men who attend sexual health (GUM) clinics and HIV clinics in England to protect then from some cancers caused by HPV as well as genital warts. Patients should not contact their clinics to request the vaccine. If the vaccine is available patients will be offered it as part of their routine sexual health check-up.

Dr Michael Edelstein, consultant epidemiologist at PHE, said: “Our evidence shows that men who have sex with men are welcoming an HPV vaccination programme, and it can be delivered successfully through sexual health services.

“MSM are a group who receive little indirect protection from the adolescent girls’ vaccination programme. We expect the new programme to reduce the number of cancers that are directly caused by HPV.”

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