A programme delivering the HPV vaccine to 12 to 13-year-old boys will begin after the summer and is estimated that it will prevent 29,000 cancers in UK men in the next 40 years. The jab protects against human papilloma virus, which causes many oral, throat and anal cancers and lasts for at least 10 years.
HPV is a common group of viruses that affects the skin. It is very common, and most people will get HPV of some type in their life. It has no symptoms, so you may not know if you have it. Most HPV infections do not cause any problems and are cleared by the body within two years. Some types can, however, lead to genital warts or abnormal cell changes that could turn into cancer.
Girls aged 12 to 13 years old have been offered the HPV vaccine since 2008 in the UK, which has led to a reduction in HPV infections, genital warts and pre-cancerous cell growths in teenage girls and young women. Teenage boys have seen benefits as the virus is not being passed onto them. To protect boys even more, they will be offered the HPV vaccine too. Older boys of 14-18 will be able to receive a paid for catch up vaccine. Gay men up to the age of 45 can also receive a free HPV vaccine as they do not benefit from the girls' programme.