-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, July 16 (HealthDay News) -- Young gay men are 15 times
more likely to develop anal cancer due to human papillomavirus
(HPV) infection compared to straight men, and should be given the
HPV vaccine, British health experts say.
HPV vaccination in Britain began in 2008 but is limited to
females to protect them against cervical cancer. Health authorities
also believe that vaccinating females would curb the spread of HPV
But the lack of HPV vaccination for males greatly increases
young gay men's risk of developing anal cancer. It would be cost
effective for Britain's National Health Service to provide HPV
vaccination for young gay men, the sexual health experts wrote in
Sexually Transmitted Infections, published online July
They said research shows that the HPV vaccine is effective in
protecting gay men against HPV 16 and HPV 18, the two strains of
the virus that cause most HPV-related cases of cancer. The vaccine
is most effective in people who aren't already infected with these
strains of HPV, but studies suggest that only a minority of young
gay men are infected with these strains, according to a journal
The biggest challenge would be to identify and vaccinate young
gay men before they acquire HPV infection. But recent data show
that vaccination of sexually active gay men is both clinically and
cost effective, wrote Dr. Mark Lawton, of the Liverpool Centre for
Sexual Health at Royal Liverpool University Hospital, and
"In the light of this evidence, and in the absence of universal vaccination of boys, the argument for introducing targeted HPV vaccination for [men who have sex with men] up to age 26 years is strong," the researchers concluded.
In the United States, HPV vaccination is recommended for the
following people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more
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