The Government has announced it will extend the HPV vaccine to men who have sex with men (MSM) aged 16-40.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) has been linked with one in 20 cases of cancer in the UK and the vaccine for HPV will now be offered to MSM via genitourinary medicine clinics.
‘Extending vaccination to men is welcome progress but not the breakthrough we need,’ Dr Graham Stokes, chair of the BDA health and science committee, said.
‘We know that by the time adult men reach a sexual health clinic it’s usually too late to protect them from HPV.
‘Blanket immunisation of boys and girls remains the most appropriate response to what is a growing threat to public health.
‘It is simply not cost-effective to leave 400,000 boys at risk.
‘Dentists believe in prevention, and for a modest investment we can ensure both sexes are protected from the agent behind one in 20 cancer cases.’
The British Dental Association (BDA) has estimated that it would cost £22 million per year to extend the vaccination to all school-age boys.
Along with the BDA, health campaigners have called for a gender-neutral approach to vaccination, which would ensure 400,000 school-aged boys are not left at risk.