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HPV vaccination for gay men announced

A HPV (human papilloma virus) vaccination programme for men who have sex with men will be introduced in Wales, it was announced today.

The new programme will be targeted at men aged 16 to 45 who have sex with men (MSM) and who attend specialist sexual health clinics.

However, the JCVI has also recommended the vaccine is offered to other people considered to be at risk, including MSM aged over 45, sex workers and HIV-positive men and women on a case-by-case basis.

Mark Drakeford, health and social services minister, said: “Men who have sex with men are a group who receive little indirect protection from the highly-successful HPV vaccination programme for adolescent girls.

“I'm pleased to announce that I have approved the introduction of a new targeted HPV vaccination programme for men who have sex with men up to the age of 45.”

The vaccination programme was introduced for teenage girls in 2008 to protect against strains of the human papilloma virus linked to cervical cancer. Since then, evidence has shown that HPV immunisation can provide protection against a wider range of cancers, which may be more commonly seen in MSM.

“We will now give careful consideration about how this programme will be delivered and will make a further announcement in due course,” Drakeford added.