Following the news that Wales will now vaccinate adolescent boys against the human papilloma virus, Dr Joanna Longstaffe, Clinical Director of the Independent General Practice, says: “This is fantastic news….finally. I’ve long been an advocate for vaccinating everyone against HPV, so this is certainly a step in the right direction and will go a long way to reducing HPV cancers and genital warts.
“Although the vaccination is already available to men who have sex with men on the NHS through STD clinics, it will be interesting to see how the government plans to deal with boys already aged over 15 who may not be included, and therefore still at risk.”
HPV is a group of viruses spread through direct skin-to-skin contact, usually during intimate sexual activity, which infects the moist mucous membranes in the body. It is the leading cause of cervical cancer (responsible for 96% of cases), anal cancer (93%), mouth cancer (63%), vaginal cancer (64%) and vulval cancer (51%); as well as causing 36% of all penile cancer cases. Worldwide, HPV accounts for 5% of all cancers.