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Welcome to HPV

Posted in
27/02/2009

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Human Papillomavirus or HPV, for short, infects the skin and mucous membranes of humans.  There are about 130 different strains with 30-40 strains passed sexually.  

Causing genital and rectal warts as well as cervical, rectal and other cancers. It is a common sexually transmitted disease with sexually active people of both sexes acquiring a genital HPV infection at some point in their lives.

Presently the UK government has committed to a vaccination program for girls, to prevent progression to cervical cancer.  The vaccine used is Cervarix which protects against strains 16 and 18 of HPV. It is offered to girls 12 and over with a catch-up program for those aged up to 18 years.

Whereas we welcome this as a first step we call for boys to also receive a vaccination.  Further we call for girls & boys to be vaccinated with Gardasil vaccine.  This protects against type 16 & 18 HPV but also types 6 and 11. Types 6 and 11 causes 90% of genital warts.  Nam's Aidsmap reports on the value of HIV-Positive gay men receiving Gardasil.

We find the current program sexist although the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is to look at the cost effectiveness of the HPV vaccine for boys.  To date this has been demonstrated as not being cost effective.

Those with HIV of either sex are more prone to HPV with dormant HPV becoming active due to the immune system affect of HIV. It is also likely that more than one type will be active at any time.  The assumption with the vaccination is that is considers only heterosexual sexual behaviour.

In men HPV can lead to penile and anal cancers. In gay men with HPV the incidence of anal cancer exceeds that of cervical cancer in women.

Issues around sex can be ignored through embarrassment or other issues.  We however believe this needs a voice.

You can access the HPV forums by clicking here and learn how to post by clicking here.

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