Teachers call for HPV vaccination to be made available for boys
Teachers have called for HPV vaccinations to be made available for teenage boys, as well as girls.
Speaking at the annual conference for the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in Scotland, several professionals backed calls to introduce vaccination for boys, in light of research connecting HPV to forms of cancer found in males, as well as females. HPV vaccines are currently given to teenage girls to protect them against cervical cancer; however, research also claims that certain strains of HPV increase the risk of head and neck cancer, throat cancer and cancers found in males, such as penile cancer.
Sree Varshini Rajkumar, from Berkshire, urged the government to roll out the vaccination programme, stating that more than 1,400 cases of head and neck cancer are diagnosed as a result of HPV in men every year. It is estimated that the number of cases of throat cancer diagnosed in men will exceed the number of cases of cervical cancer linked to HPV diagnosed in women over the course of the next five years. Fifty-thousand men are diagnosed with HPV each year, and many cases of cancers associated with certain strains of the virus could be eliminated if the vaccination programme was extended.
HPV has been identified as a potential risk factor for oral cancer, a form of cancer, which has become increasingly prevalent over the last decade. In the past, most cases were found in people who smoked and drank excessively; however, there has been a rise in cases among younger people and non-smokers, and HPV infection is a likely cause.