Making the case for universal HPV vaccination

Dr Gillian Prue, Dr Olinda Santin, Dr Lesley Anderson, Dr Donna Graham and Prof Mark Lawler (QUB)

Prevention of human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cancers is an increasingly prominent public health issue. The current UK strategy of vaccinating girls alone does not provide males with adequate protection against HPV infection and HPV-related diseases, particularly men-who-have-sex-with-men (MSM). In response to this, in November 2015, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published a statement on HPV vaccination of MSM. This statement recommended that the vaccination programme be extended to MSM aged up to 45 years via a genitourinary (GUM) or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) clinic, or opportunistic vaccination via a GP. In August 2016, the Health Minister announced the investment of £100,000 for the targeted vaccination of MSM in NI who attend GUM and HIV clinics. There are doubts that HPV vaccinations can be effectively targeted to MSM, and it has been argued that the only feasible way to protect MSM is by vaccinating all adolescent boys. The JCVI are currently considering the merit of extending the vaccine to all adolescent males. There are a number of countries that currently recommend and provide universal, gender neutral HPV vaccination. In order to inform the current HPV vaccine policy discussion, we will present our work on knowledge and attitudes to HPV and HPV vaccination in MSM and parents of adolescent boys. We will also present data on the cost-effectiveness of including males in HPV vaccination programmes.

Date of seminar: 10 May 2017.

Policy Briefing