Give Gay Men HPV Vaccine, Says British Medical Association

The British Medical Association has said that the HPV vaccine, given to teenage girls and women to dramatically cut their chances of developing cervical cancer, should also be given to gay men.

Writing to Health minister Anne Sudbury, the BMA’s chairperson Colm O’ Mahoney said that increasing concern over a rise in HPV (human papillomavirus) diagnoses and anal warts in gay men, particularly those who are HIV positive, warranted advanced measures such as widening the HPV vaccination program.

HPV is a sexually transmitted disease that has been shown to cause cervical, penile, anal and throat cancers, as well as genital and anal warts.

A national program of vaccinating girls between the ages of 12 and 13 has been in place since September 2008, while older women can opt for a vaccination upon request.

Referencing data gathered in Australia, O’Mahoney noted that, while it is extremely difficult to identify young gay men for a vaccination program, the vaccine could be given to those men who sort advice and health checkups at medical clinics or community sexual health clinics, this possibly as an additional inoculation for patients already receiving the hepatitis B vaccination.

O’Mahoney is quoted as saying, “Australia has seen a phenomenal reduction in genital warts in a very short time… It would be best to give the vaccine to boys in the early teens, as for girls. But we recognise that is not cost effective at the moment. But we think if young gay men up to the age of 21 attending sexual health clinics are offered the vaccine the chances of the virus causing trouble will be very much reduced.”

Currently, the UK does not give young men the same vaccinations even though men do carry HPV and can pass it on to women. As noted above, this is purportedly due to economic considerations, though with rising cases of throat and esophageal cancers –which do affect men — this is a matter that is now being reconsidered.

Previously, Conservative Lord Norman Fowler wrote to the public health minister to say he felt gay men’s exclusion from the HPV vaccination program was “unfair.”

Quotes the Guardian, ”There is a clear inequity in the HPV vaccination programme offered to all 12- and 13-year-old girls. As the four strains of HPV vaccinated against are sexually transmitted, heterosexual males will eventually receive indirect protection against the related cancers and genital warts by a herd immunity effect. Men who have sex with men, meanwhile, receive no such protection, despite increasing rates of anal cancer in this group.”

This comes after the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) – an expert panel who together advise the government on vaccination procedures – began gathering data on the topic last year.

The JCVI is expected to publish its findings later this year, with indications that it very well may widen the target group for the vaccinations, though how many that will encompass remains to be seen.


Related Reading:

HPV Vaccine Recommended For 11 Year Old Boys

Study Shows That Half of Men May Have HPV

Oral Sex More Likely To Cause Throat Cancer Than Tobacco

Image credit: Thinkstock.


Christine Stewart

The papilloma virus can cause cancer, so that is why the vaccine, against the virus, may prevent cancer. As to the side effects of the vaccine, I haven't heard enough about that to comment!

G S.
v s5 years ago

HPV is a virus. Since when did a vaccine stop cancer? This medication has already caused HORRIBLE side effects in young girls & women! Why give it to anyone else??????????????

Vicky P.
Vicky P6 years ago

interesting, maybe they should

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

Cheyenne T. Vaccinations are there to protect you from becoming ill. If you're already sick, they won't do any good.
I don't take any influensa vaccinations because I've never had the flu and therefore find it unnecessary, but I do take whatever is needed if travelling to risky parts of the world and keep myself updated on the ones given me before.
Also, if offered a test, I usually take the chance, even though I don't feel ill. If it's a test that will be beneficial to me, why not?
On the issue at hand, I feel everyone should be offered the vaccine. That is not the sameas compulsory vaccnations.

paul m.
paul m6 years ago


Les M.
Les M6 years ago

i understand why some are against mandatory vaccines. but i'm all for certain ones. like one that can stop cancer. if i had a son and daughter, i'd want both of them to get it. fyi, i've been tested and don't have it. i'm in my 40's and have been with my hubby for 20 years.

Lydia Price

All human beings should be granted access to vaccinations if they choose. I draw the line at anything mandatory. Our bodies are our own and these decisions are ours alone to make. Please make it available to anyone who wants it, but I myself still consider this vaccine too new and possibly risky in itself. Who knows what the effects will be down the road? Fainting and infections after injection with this vaccine are not uncommon and it continues to be monitored for long-term effects. I'm not saying it's bad, simply that everyone should be able to make an informed decision.

melanie blow
melanie blow6 years ago

I think they should give it to young heterosexual males too. The fewer people contract the virus, the rarer it will become.

Natasha Salgado
Past Member 6 years ago

Thanks. I agree with Penny. Make it available for all.

Heidi Aubrey
Heidi Aubrey6 years ago

I agree with teen a upon puberty vaccinations.

However, if an HIV vaccine is ever developed(shocking difficult-each person(infected) has a DIFFERENT mutation of the virus), the gay males should be the very first group to recieve it.

They should have the highest priority AND many African populations.