BELFAST, Ireland — Men who have sex with men in Ireland and who are under age 45 will be offered a vaccine against the human papilloma virus (HPV), the Irish Independent reports.
A similar decision was taken by the Welsh health minister last December. There are more than 100 types of HPV, and about 40 of these infect the genital tract. The vaccine has long been offered to adolescent girls as part of the fight against cervical cancer, the Independent reports.
“Investment in this program will help to provide protection against HPV, which can cause a range of cancers. My department is now working closely with the Public Health Agency to ensure the HPV vaccine can be offered to eligible men attending GUM clinics in the near future,” said Northern Ireland Assembly Member Michelle O’Neill, according to the Independent.
Most people would need three doses of the HPV vaccine, ideally over a 12-month period. In June, just days after Sinn Fein assumed the health ministry following the Assembly election, O’Neill lifted the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood.