BASHH welcomes decision to extend HPV vaccination programme for men who have sex with men in England

6th February 2018

The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) welcomes today’s announcement from the Department of Health (DH) that it will introduce an England-wide human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccination programme for men who have sex with other men (MSM) aged 45 or younger.

The extension of the HPV vaccination programme follows a successful vaccination pilot involving 42 specialist sexual health services across England, which first commenced in June 2016. It also brings England in line with the HPV vaccination programmes available in Scotland and Wales, which were extended to include MSM in 2017.

Prior to today’s announcement, MSM in England remained the only group that did not receive protection from the existing adolescent girls’ HPV vaccination programme, despite experiencing significantly higher rates of HPV-related disease, such as ano-genital cancers, oral cancers and genital warts.

Commenting on the announcement, Dr Olwen Williams OBE, BASHH President said:

Extending the HPV vaccination programme to include MSM is something that BASHH and partner organisations have been strongly campaigning for in recent years. BASHH have worked closely with Public Health England to support the piloting of HPV vaccination for MSM and we are therefore delighted with today’s announcement, which will not only reduce the patchwork approach to HPV vaccination across the United Kingdom, but will also support significantly improved sexual health outcomes for MSM.

Whilst BASHH looks forward to supporting the implementation of national roll-out in England, we ultimately believe that HPV vaccination should be made available to all adolescents regardless of gender, and across the entirety of the UK.

This is something that we will continue to advocate for, and work towards our goal of one day making the eradication of HPV-related disease a reality.

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