Mike Freer, MP for Finchley & Golders Green and Chair of the APPG on HIV & AIDS, has been a leading voice in the campaign for the extension of HPV since he first raised the issue in a House of Commons debate over two years ago.
In response to the announcement of extending the HPV vaccination to MSM he said:
‘I welcome the Minister’s announcement today, which marks a significant step in the Department of Health’s recognition that the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can impact men just as much as it can women. I applaud the efforts Ms Ellison has made which have led us to this point. Without a public health champion like her in the Department, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
‘Until now, the HPV vaccination programme has discriminated against men who have sex with men (MSM). This announcement changes that and addresses the limitations of having a vaccination programme focused solely on reducing cervical and vaginal cancer rates in women.
‘The health risks faced by MSM are statistically greater than in men generally. Therefore I am pleased, further to the recommendations made by the JCVI last year, the DoH are now taking the action needed to reduce STIs in MSM, by extending the HPV vaccination programme.’
The Member for Finchley & Golders Green has been lobbying the Government on the issue of HPV for many years. He has tabled written questions, oral questions and countless debates to force this issue onto the agenda at the DH. Mr Freer said:
‘By announcing the expansion of the HPV vaccination programme the DoH has committed to putting in place a robust HPV prevention policy that can save both lives and money.’