Views & Reviews Personal View

Vaccinate boys as well as girls against HPV: it works, and it may be cost effective

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g4834 (Published 29 July 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g4834
  1. Gillian Prue, lecturer in chronic illness, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast BT9 7BL
  1. g.prue{at}qub.ac.uk

Protecting boys as well as girls by vaccinating against human papillomavirus may cut the incidence of genital warts and several cancers among both sexes, writes Gillian Prue

Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is common in men. Many of these infections are transient and clinically insignificant, but persistent infection with HPV types 6 and 11 can lead to genital warts, and oncogenic types 16 and 18 may lead to some head and neck, anal, or penile cancers. The incidence of each of these cancers has increased worldwide in the past two decades, and HPV causes 5% of all human cancers.

Since September 2008 a free vaccination programme has been available for 12-13 year old girls in the United Kingdom, with a catch-up programme to vaccinate girls aged up to 18. Australia, the United States, two Canadian provinces, and Austria have introduced vaccination for boys as well as girls. And now the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, an advisory committee of the Department of Health, is investigating whether to …

Sign in

Log in through your institution

Free trial

Register for a free trial to thebmj.com to receive unlimited access to all content on thebmj.com for 14 days.
Sign up for a free trial

Subscribe