21 Mar 2016

Doctors want HPV vaccine funded for boys

6:58 pm on 21 March 2016

Doctors are calling for a vaccine against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is funded only for young women, to be extended to men.

HPV vaccine

Photo: 123RF

They are warning cancers caused by HPV in areas like the throat and tongue in men are likely to overtake cervical cancer rates by the end of 2020.

Young women have been vaccinated against HPV since 2006.

However, the vaccine has not been extended to young men - and a coalition of doctors and public health experts have said that needs to change.

Death rates from cervical cancer have dropped 60 percent in the last 25 years.

Immunisation Advisory Centre director of research Helen Petoussis-Harris said that drop was due to screening and vaccine programmes for women, which young men were missing out on.

"There's still a lot of susceptible population in which this virus can circulate, so therefore not only are the people that are not vaccinated missing out, but also a lot of our males are missing out, so this is quite an inequitable situation."