Our very own Tristan Almada, Co-Founder of the Anal Cancer Foundation, sent out a loud rallying cry this week to push for gender neutral vaccination in the UK. Right now boys in the UK are unable to get the jab in the public health system, leaving them vulnerable to three different cancers including anal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers, as well as transmitting the virus to unvaccinated women.
Almada was featured on Sky News on February 4, 2014 and various other high profile media outlets (see bottom of page for full list). Almada stated to Sky News, "We are effectively discriminating against half the population. Canada, Australia and the United States all vaccinate boys and girls. Why is Britain different?" After successfully championing for gender neutral vaccination in the US, we will not rest until equal access is granted in the UK as well.
The Foundation has come together with 26 other organizations to form HPV Action. This coalition is working hard to bring the HPV jab to boys in the UK by bringing together patients and the medical community to advocate to MPs and the NHS.
Why should you care about HPV?
It is estimated that almost all sexually active adults will have some type of sexually transmitted HPV at some point in their lifetime. HPV is responsible for 6 different cancers (anal, cervical, vaginal, vulvar, oropharyngeal and penile cancers) in men and women and 5% of all cancers worldwide. Two strains of HPV that are primarily responsible for these cancers are HPV-16 and HPV-18. HPV-related cancers specifically anal and oropharyngeal cancers are on the rise, especially in men.
Why is the “jab” important?
The jab protects against HPV-16 and 18. Immunization prevents men and women from catching these two strains of the virus, both of which are carcinogenic. Receiving the jab will help reduce one’s chances of getting an HPV-related cancer.
Want to help?
To be a part the change, sign the petition!
To see the momentum this movement is gaining in the UK, see the articles below:
Independent (print and online)
The Guardian (print and online)