The HPV vaccine will now be provided to MSM by the HSE
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine which has been given to girls since 2012, will be provided for men who have sex with men (MSM) from next January.
The vaccine protects against strains of HPV, colloquially known as genital warts, which increase the chances of cancer developing.
In women, the vaccine helps to protect against cervical cancer. In MSM the vaccine would help protect against penile and anal cancer, as well as cancer in the back of the throat.
Dr Fiona Lyons, the HSE’s clinical lead for sexual health, said that the rate of HPV infections has decreased significantly since the vaccine was introduced in Australia in 2007.
“It is important that MSM have access to the HPV vaccine because they do not benefit from the herd immunity conferred through vaccinating adolescent girls,” Dr Lyons said.
The vaccine will be available through HSE run STI clinics, including the Baggot Street Gay Men’s Health Service (GMHS).
Initially targeting young MSM between the ages of 16 and 26, the vaccine will become available to MSM aged 26-45 later in the year.
Last October, the vaccine was also made to available to men and women under 26 years of age who are living with HIV.
The vaccine is given in 3 separate doses, and protects against four types of HPV (types 6, 11, 16 and 18).
Types 16 and 18 alone account for 75-80% of anal cancers, the manufacturer’s leaflet states.
While studies have proven the efficacy of this vaccine, a group of anti-vaccine campaigners have warned against the Gardasil vaccine.
The Regret group claims that hundreds of girls have suffered serious illnesses after receiving the vaccine, although scientists have been unable to find evidence to support these claims, the Irish Times reports.
The Journal did a Fact Check on the Gardasil Vaccine, finding that the side effects of the HPV vaccine do not outweigh its benefits.
According to The Journal, research that has been done which contradicts the overwhelming consensus that the HPV vaccine is safe has been shown to be flawed and unreliable.
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