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BMA seeks HPV vaccination for gay men

A vaccine against HPV should be extended to young gay men, the BMA has told the Department of Health.

HPV can cause cervical, penile, anal and throat cancers, as well as genital and anal warts.

Data from Australia has shown that heterosexual men gain protection from the virus through herd immunity if women are vaccinated, but no such protection is afforded to gay men.

Last year, the vaccine was changed from Cervarix to Gardasil, which protects against the strains of HPV that cause genital warts as well as those that cause cancers.

CC dermatology and venereology subcommittee chair Colm O’Mahony and BMA public health medicine committee co-chair Penelope Toff have written to health minister Anna Soubry in support of the change.

The letter also supports offering Gardasil to gay men. The letter suggests administering Gardasil as an add-on vaccination for patients vaccinated against hepatitis B.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is gathering information on the issue.