HIQA to consider extension of HPV vaccination to boys

There are cancers associated with the virus that affect both men and women

HIQA to consider extension of HPV vaccination to boys

Picture by: Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/DPA/PA Images

Health watchdog HIQA is to look into whether to extend the HPV vaccine scheme to boys.

Currently it is given to girls in secondary school in a bid to prevent cervical cancer developing in later life.

HPV (human papillomavirus) is an infection also associated with cancers that affect men, and it can cause genital warts in both men and women.

HIQA will to examine the clinical and cost effectiveness of rolling out the scheme to include boys.

The organisations's Deputy Chief Executive Dr Máirín Ryan says HPV is one of the most commonly acquired sexually transmitted infections.

She explained: "In most cases it causes no symptoms and is cleared by the body’s immune system. However, persistent infection can lead to the development of cancer.

"The HPV vaccine has been proven to be safe [...] HIQA’s assessment will consider the wider implications of any proposed change to the vaccination programme, such as the budget impact, use of resources, and the ethical and societal implications.”