Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of numerous diseases, including fatal cancers. It has been estimated that HPV is the cause of 5% of all cancer cases.
HPV is very common and most men and women get HPV at some time in their lives. HPV usually never causes any health problems but, for some people, infection with HPV can lead to the development of certain cancers (cervical, vulval, vaginal, penile, anal, head and neck) as well as genital warts.
HPV vaccination at the age of 12/13 can significantly reduce the risk of developing disease and vaccinating both sexes provides the highest level of protection. In the UK currently, only girls are vaccinated through a national programme generally delivered in schools.
Australia has recently started to vaccinate both boys and girls.
This European Immunization Week (24–30 April 2016) support our call for boys to be included in the UK vaccination programme:
- To protect as many women as possible from cervical cancer.
- To protect both men and women from other HPV-related cancers.
- To protect both sexes from genital warts.
- It is unethical to exclude males from a straightforward, risk-free and relatively low-cost health programme that would prevent cancers and improve sexual health.