HPV (human papilloma virus) is very common and most men and women get HPV at some time in their lives. HPV usually never causes any health problems but, for some people, infection with HPV can lead to the development of certain cancers (cervical, vulval, vaginal, penile, anal, head and neck) as well as genital warts. About 5% of all cancers are caused by HPV infection.
HPV vaccination at the age of 12/13 can significantly reduce the risk of developing disease and vaccinating both sexes provides the highest level of protection. In the UK currently, only girls are vaccinated through a national programme generally delivered in schools.
Australia has recently started to vaccinate both boys and girls.
Boys should now be included in the UK vaccination programme:
· To protect as many women as possible from cervical cancer.
· To protect both men and women from other HPV-related cancers.
· To protect both sexes from genital warts.
It is unethical to exclude males from a straightforward, risk-free and relatively low-cost health programme that would prevent cancers and improve sexual health.
This petition has been organised by HPV Action, a partnership of 22 patient and professional organisations that all believe both boys and girls should be vaccinated. For more information about HPV Action: www.hpvaction.org. Twitter: @HPVAction
Donations to support HPV Action's work are very welcome and can be made via JustGiving: www.justgiving.com/HPVAction