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Australian Government Increases HPV Vaccine Program To Protect Men

Fantastic news in Australia with the government moving towards allowing immunisation of males against the human papilloma virus (HPV). The HPV virus is known for it’s association with warts but also cancers of the anus, mouth and throat, particularly in gay men.

As reported in the Star Observer:

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) has announced a recommended extension of the National Immunisation Program for human papillomavirus (HPV) in boys, which will be provided to the federal Government for approval.

PBAC rejected a submission by drug maker CSL in May to add the HPV vaccine Gardasil to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for use in males, which would reduce HPV-caused penile, head and neck cancers in men generally and anal cancers in gay men.

Currently the Australian government had funded vaccination of young women however boys were left out of the equation despite being equally at risk of exposure.

While the initial drive was to prevent cervical cancers in women when the cost per person undertaking all three vaccinations comes close to $1,500 it’s clear that economics where surely part of the equation.

The new listing for men aged 9 to 26 is a step forward in helping reduce the prevalence of genital warts as well as cancers of the head, neck and anus. As noted by Professor Andrew Gruilch:

“There is absolutely no doubt it will prevent most anal cancer, that it will prevent quite a bit of penile cancer, and that it will prevent almost all anal and genital warts.”

While it is hoped the government will approve it’s inclusion in the national school based vaccination scheme, men who missed the age group or have completed school will need to pay full price for the series of three vaccinations.

As discussed in my recent article on the HPV virus, gay men stand to benefit greatly by considering having the series.

You can read more about the benefits of this vaccination for gay men here:
Should You Consider The HPV Vaccine

I hope with success in the school based system the government may allow further subsidies to fund vaccination for all gay men who are at risk.

Time will tell.

Yours in good health.

Dr George