Jab for gay boys under study

NZ Herald 14 July 2013
Health initiative proposes vaccination priority for males from the age of 11 who identify as homosexual.

Health experts want to target boys from the age of 11 who identify as gay to be first for vaccinating against genital warts and a range of cancers.

The Pharmacology and Therapeutics Advisory Committee is considering whether males aged between 11 and 25 who identify as men who have sex with men should be given priority for a publicly funded human papillomarvirus (HPV) vaccination.

Experts say targeting such a specific group before they become sexually active poses problems despite the potential for their being at high risk of contracting warts and anal and throat cancers.

Gay youth advocacy group Rainbow Youth welcomes the health initiative but warns of any actions that further isolate young gay people.

The Government funds Gardasil for girls between the ages of 12 and 18 years to ward off cervical cancer.

As well as preventing cervical cancer, it also reduces the risk of genital warts in the same age group and the advisory committee wants to extend the protection to boys.