News & media News Charity calls for government to commit to HPV catch-up programme 4 MARCH 2019 To mark International HPV Awareness Day, the Oral Health Foundation is urging the government to ‘do the right thing’ by introducing a HPV catch-up programme for boys aged 18 and under. The Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) made the welcome decision last summer to offer young males the HPV vaccine. This is due to begin across British schools from September 2019. The Oral Health Foundation is now turning its efforts to providing an effective programme for those who have missed out during the six years that it took to reach a verdict. The charity is hoping the government follow in the footsteps of their Australian counterparts, who approved a catch-up program in co-ordination with the introduction of their HPV vaccination for boys in 2013. Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, says campaigns like International HPV Awareness Day are crucial for putting pressure on the government to commit to a catch-up programme. Dr Carter says: “The JCVI’s recommendation of a HPV vaccination for boys has been six years in the making. In the time Downing Street has spent dithering, over two million boys have missed out on a jab that could save their life. “The government now has the ability to distribute the vaccine to boys and girls across the country. It would be unethical and a disservice to all our youngsters were they not to be offered the jab. “It is important that those who have slipped through the net are given the vaccine. The government must commit to a full roll-out of the vaccine in order to show they are doing all they can to protect its youngest citizens.” You can visit www.askabouthpv.org to learn more about International HPV Awareness Day, discover ways to support the cause and to access downloadable campaign material. To get involved with the campaign through social media, use the hashtag #AskAboutHPV. “International HPV Awareness Day is incredibly important, as it reminds us all of the threat that HPV poses to our oral health,” adds Dr Carter. “There are over 150 different types of HPV known to us. Most have no visual signs and are harmless. However, in some circumstances HPV can be become cancerous. “If you have any concerns or would simply like to learn more from a professional about the impact HPV can have, make an appointment with your dentist or GP.” The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the name of a group of viruses which affect the moist membranes within the body, such as the mouth and genital areas. HPV is now responsible for 5% of all world cancers and is one of the leading causes of mouth cancer. To learn more about the #JabsForBoys campaign, click here.