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Boys 'should get HPV jab'

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a "real and rapidly growing" threat to men in the UK, a charity has claimed. 

HPV Action believes vaccinating boys would protect them from being exposed to "unnecessary risks" of developing HPV-related cancers and genital wards. 

HPV causes 5% of all human cancers. In cancers affecting men, it is estimated that HPV infection is associated with up to 90% of anal cancers, 60% of penile cancers, and 75% of tonsillar and base-of-tongue cancers.

It also accounts for 40,392 new cases of genital warts found in men in 2012, a 15% increase since 2003.

The charity estimates that extending the vaccine to 367,000 12-year old boys will cost the UK government £24 million per year. 

Peter Baker, HPV Action's campaign director said: “For a cost equivalent to footballer Cristiano Ronaldo's salary, about £24 million a year, we can protect 367,000 boys a year against the future risk of a range of cancers as well as the very common problem of genital warts. Vaccinating girls alone is not enough to tackle HPV: men can still get the virus HPV from unvaccinated women from the UK and other countries or from other men. 

"It is simply unfair to deny boys in the UK the same level of protection as girls or as boys in Australia and other countries where both sexes are now routinely vaccinated. HPV vaccination is one of the easiest ways of preventing cancer.”

HPV Action is a new coalition of 25 patient and professional organisations including the HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation, Oral Cancer Foundation, British Dental Health Foundation and Throat Cancer Foundation.