Gay men under 45 to be offered HPV vaccine in Northern Ireland

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Men who have sex with men in Northern Ireland are to be offered a vaccine to protect against the human papilloma virus (HPV).

But only men under 45 will be offered the vaccine, should they attend a sexual health clinic in Northern Ireland.

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The move was announced by Northern Irish Health Minister Michelle O’Neill as she headed to Belfast Pride.

She said: “This will be a targeted vaccination programme for men who have sex with men aged up to 45 who attend genito-urinary medicine (GUM) and HIV clinics.”

HPV has been linked to various cancers, but a vaccine has historically only been offered to teenage girls as part of “herd immunity”.

Ms O’Neill said: “Investment in this programme 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.”

The Welsh government had made a similar announcement last year.

The government in May confirmed that gay men will be offered HPV vaccines in England for the first time.