The B.C. Government has announced that the HPV (human papillomavirus virus) vaccine program has been expanded to at-risk boys and young men.
The publicly funded program is provided to girls up to age 26, and while the vaccine for girls protects heterosexual boys, it does not protect gay males and those the province categorize as “street-involved.”
“The human papillomavirus virus is the most common sexually transmitted infection,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “It can lead to serious health problems and could develop into an HPV-related cancer. Our vaccination program will help protect all young British Columbians from cancers and other diseases caused by HPV infection.”
Dr. Gina Ogilvie, Canada research chair in global control of HPV-related disease and cancer, said “among males, men who have sex with men carry a disproportionately high burden of HPV infection and a significant burden of HPV-related cancers. The targeted expansion of B.C.’s HPV vaccination program is an important step to controlling the spread of HPV infections and ultimately HPV related cancers.”
Anyone can arrange for the HPV vaccine by visiting their local public health unit. The Gardasil vaccine will be used in this HPV program. Gardasil protects against infection from HPV types 16 and 18 that cause about 70 per cent of cervical cancers, 80 per cent of anal cancers and other cancers of the mouth, throat, penis, vagina and vulva. It also protects against infection from HPV types 6 and 11 that cause about 90 per cent of cases of genital warts.