A subcommittee of UK’s Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunization, which advises the Department of Health, met last month to discuss the option for boys to receive the HPV vaccination as well as girls.
The HPV vaccine is given to girls age 12 to 13 in the UK to prevent cancers caused by Human papillomavirus strains 16 and 18.
The subcommittee is expected to finalize its decision later this month and may also include extending vaccination to homosexual men.
Who Receives The HPV Vaccine Currently?
The HPV vaccine, Gardasil, is offered to girl’s ages 12 and 13 as a part of the childhood vaccination program. According to experts, the Gardasil vaccination protects against two types of HPV responsible for more than 70 percent of cervical cancers in the UK.
Currently, the UK does not offer the HPV vaccine for boys. Parents who wish to have their sons vaccinated have to pay for the vaccine on a private basis.
Human Papillomavirus In Boys
Although boys are routinely vaccinated against HPV in many other parts of the world like Australia and the US, UK officials want to insure that the program will be safe and effective.
HPV in boys/men has been linked to cancer or the throat, anus and penis.
Experts suggest that boys as well as girls should be given the HPV vaccine to prevent rising rates of cancer.
How Will The HPV Vaccine for Boys Help?
According to Cancer Research UK, there has been a sharp rise in cancer cases from 4,400 a year in 2002 to 6,200 in 2012 with two thirds of cases occurring in men.
It is thought that the rise in cases may possibly be associated with the high-risk strains of HPV that can be spread during oral sex in both heterosexual and homosexual couples.
Experts believe that the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, will help protect boys as it does girls.
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