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In 2013, Cancer Research UK reported that between 20, oral cancers rose in the UK from 4400 to 6200 a year.However the decision on whether to vaccinate boys in the UK may have to wait until 2017, when an advisory panel is due to complete its study of the possible costs and impact.The UK is to trial offering the HPV vaccine to gay and bisexual men, but campaigners are calling for the vaccine to be given to all boys, as is done in the US and Australia.Since 2008, girls in the UK have been vaccinated against the human papillomavirus, which can cause cervical cancer.Shirley Cramer, Royal Society of Public Health chief executive said: “The newly published statement from the JCVI clearly states that offering vaccinations to men who have sex with men at GUM and HIV clinics is proven to be a cost-effective option for preventing HPV infection."Given this we don’t understand why yet further consultation is required.When the vaccine was first introduced, the focus was on preventing women from developing cervical cancer after having sex with men who carry the virus.But it has since emerged that the virus can be transmitted through other types of sexual contact, such as oral and anal sex, resulting in cancers of the anus, penis and throat.

Now the UK public health minister, Jane Ellison, has announced a pilot programme to offer the jab to 40,000 gay and bisexual men.

Campaign groups have welcomed the announcement, but have repeated the call for all boys in the UK to be vaccinated.

“Vaccinating all men who have sex with men against HPV would be a vital step, but to be most effective, the HPV vaccine must be made available widely to all boys before they’re sexually active,” said Shaun Griffin, of the Terrence Higgins Trust charity. “Ideally, you must get people before their sexual debut, and a gender-neutral programme would cover all the bases,” says Carrie Llewellyn, at the University of Sussex, UK.

Officials said yesterday’s draft recommendation follows concerns that men who have sex with men are at high risk for HPV infection but have no protection from the current system of vaccinations.

Public health experts said officials should stop "dithering" and get on with bringing in jabs for gay men, and extending the programme to cover all boys and girls.

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