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a man vaccination imageFebruary 8 2018

A scheme to provide HPV vaccination for men aged 45 or younger who have sex with other men will be rolled out from April.

The Department of Health and Social Care said as the scheme will be phased across England, patients should not contact their clinics to request the vaccine. Instead, “if the vaccine is available patients will be offered it as part of their routine sexual health check-up.” This will normally be in sexual health (GUM) clinics and HIV clinics.

The nationwide roll out follows a pilot scheme in 42 specialist sexual health services clinics running from June 2016.

Dr Michael Edelstein, Consultant Epidemiologist at Public Health England, said: “Our evidence shows that men who have sex with men are welcoming an HPV vaccination programme, and it can be delivered successfully through sexual health services.

“MSM are a group who receive little indirect protection from the adolescent girls’ vaccination programme. We expect the new programme to reduce the number of cancers that are directly caused by HPV.”

The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) has welcomed the announcement. “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,” it said.

Dr Olwen Williams, BASHH President, added: “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.”

Links:
DHSC announcement   
BASHH statement        

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