Millions of young British men are being denied a vaccine that could protect them from throat cancers in later life. Scientists say the problem is becoming increasingly worrying as rates of human papilloma virus (HPV) – a common sexually transmitted infection and the prime cause of these cancers – are now rising exponentially.
Researchers want the government to include adolescent boys in the current vaccine programme that immunises girls aged 12 and 13 against HPV before they become sexually active. HPV in women is known to lead to cervical cancers. The vaccine, if extended to boys, would protect them in later life against HPV-related head and neck cancers.
“If we want to eradicate male throat cancers – which are soaring in numbers – we need to act speedily and that means giving them the HPV vaccine we now give to girls,” said Professor Mark Lawler of Queen’s University Belfast.
Those HPV infections in men come from interactions with women for the most part. Who, soon enough, won’t be carrying it and thus not passing it on. So, no, perhaps not necessary.
On the other hand, male to female sex isn’t the only kind so if we really want to wipe it out in humans then yes, jab the boys as well. So no actual strong view here at all. Might be marginally beneficial but doubt it’s of any great importance.