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BMA calls for extention of HPV vaccination programme to young gay men

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The BMA has called on the DH to extend the HPV vaccination programme to young gay men.

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.

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

The news comes as cancer charity Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust has urged nurses to take action and use Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, 20 - 26 January 2013, as an opportunity to inform and educate women about symptoms, causes and ways to prevent the disease and reduce the number of people being diagnosed unnecessarily.

Cervical cancer is a preventable disease. Despite this, figures show that in the UK, over 20% of women do not attend their cervical screening test. In addition, approximately 350,000 females under 18 years and eligible to receive the HPV vaccine in 2010/11 did not receive a single dose. This included more than 200,000 females aged over 18 years who are now no longer eligible.

Director of Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, Robert Music said: 'The statistics speak for themself and raising public awareness of cervical cancer prevention is more necessary than ever. Cervical Cancer Prevention Week provides an opportunity for healthcare professionals to remind their female patients young and older about the HPV vaccine and need for regular cervical screening.'

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week is a European wide initiative led by the European Cervical Cancer Association, and led in the UK by Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, the UK's only charity dedicated to supporting women of all ages affected by cervical cancer and cervical abnormalities.

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