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Gay men should be vaccinated against HPV, researchers say

New study shows anal cancer rates significantly higher among gay men

Human papillomavirus (HPV) Credit: npr.org

A new study says gay men are fifteen times more likely than straight men to develop genital cancer and should be vaccinated against HPV, the UK Daily Mail reported July 16. 

Experts at three British hospitals say their research shows higher anal cancer rates among gay men, regardless of HIV status. They suggest that offering vaccines to gay men would provide “herd immunity,” protecting the whole community. 

“'In the light of this evidence, and in the absence of universal vaccination of boys, the argument for introducing targeted HPV vaccination for MSM [men who have sex with men] up to age 26 years is strong,” the study says. 

Eighty percent of anal cancers are caused by the HPV virus. 

(The study’s abstract can be found here.)