This site is intended for health professionals only

Gay men ‘should have’ HPV vaccine

17 January 2013

Share this article

Young gay men should be given the HPV vaccine, doctors’ leaders have claimed. 
Colm O’Mahoney, chair of the BMA dermatology and venereology subcommittee and BMA public health medicine committee co-chair Penelope Toff wrote to health minister Anna Sourby in support of the change. 
From September 2008, all 12-13 and 17-18 year old girls are offered a vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV).
‘Herd immunity’ may protect straight men from HPV, but gay men do not benefit from women being immunized, an Australian study has shown. 
James Taylor, Stonewall senior health officer said: “Stonewall support the BMA’s announcement in principal, however it is clear there is still research to be done.
“It is clear the NHS needs to rethink how it approaches many of its patients, as well as telling gay and bisexual young men what they need to know about safe sex and same-sex relationships in the school curriculum.”
Lesbian & Gay Foundation GP Project Manager Dennis Baldwin said: “We are discovering that a third of LGB patients state that they are not ‘out’ to their GP which indicates that understanding the needs of the individual patient is paramount to help achieve more positive health outcomes.
“It is imperative that supportive and accessible healthcare is  made available to everyone and  the late diagnosis of conditions that disproportionately affect LGB communities can have detrimental effects on their long term health and wellbeing.”
HPV can cause cervical, penile, anal and throat cancers, as well as genital and anal warts.
The highest rates of new cases are in 20-24 year old men and 16-19 year old women.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: “The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) keeps the eligibility criteria of all vaccination programmes under review, and research is underway to support a future assessment of vaccinating men who have sex with men against HPV. 
“However, there are currently no plans to extend HPV vaccination to males, based on an assessment of available scientific evidence.”