HPV vaccine program starts on boys
School boys are now receiving a vaccine that’s already protecting girls from cervical cancer.
The Federal Government has begun a free vaccination program to protect 280,000 boys against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which in men can cause cancer and genital warts.
One million girls aged 12-16 years have already received the Gardasil vaccine.
Now, boys aged 12 and 13 can access the vaccine through school-based programs run under the National Immunisation Program.
Launching the program today, Federal Health Minister Tanya Plibersek said Australia’s vaccine coverage was among the best in the world.
“The HPV vaccine is the best protection against the HPV virus; a virus that infects four out of five sexually active people at some point in their lives and is linked to cancer and other disease,” Plibersek said.
Commenting on the scheme last year, acting ACON CEO Geoff Honnor said the vaccinations would help address the disproportionately high rates of anal cancer among gay men, particularly HIV positive gay men.
“Gay men are 20 times more likely than heterosexual men to develop anal cancer and HIV positive gay men show even higher rates,” Honnor said.
“ACON welcomes this demonstration of the Australian Government’s commitment to innovative prevention approaches and we congratulate Minister Plibersek particularly for implementing this important initiative.”
You can find more information about the HPV school vaccination program at australia.gov.au/hpv
IMAGE: Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, far right, with a student and nurse at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts.