HPV Action (HPVA) is a collaborative partnership of 51 patient and professional organisations working to reduce the health burden of HPV in the UK. To achieve this, HPVA runs an advocacy campaign that aims to achieve gender-equal HPV vaccination.

The campaign goal is that all boys and girls be protected against HPV and the cancers it causes. This will be achieved through equal access to the vaccine by providing equal access to, and routinely offering, the HPV vaccine to both boys and girls. In July 2018, the JCVI recommended that boys should also be included in the UK HPV vaccination programme from September 2019.

HPV Action estimates that, in the UK, HPV causes about 5,000 new cancer cases a year in women and 2,100 in men. It also causes about 39,250 new cases of genital warts in women and 47,550 in men. About 1,200 people (600 men and 600 women) are affected by recurrent respiratory papillomatosis at any one time. HPV causes cervical, anal, penile, vaginal, vulvar and head and neck cancers. The incidence of HPV-related anal and head and neck cancers has increased significantly over the past 40 years. There is a screening programme for only one (cervical) of the cancers caused by HPV.

HPVA’s work includes:

  • Lobbying MPs and ministers, government and NHS officials
  • Generating media coverage
  • Building medical and scientific support
  • Engaging patient, professional and other organisations

Six parliamentarians with a special interest in different areas of public health back the campaign.

  • John Baron MP, chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer
  • Sir Paul Beresford, chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Dentistry
  • Baroness Joyce Gould, chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Sexual and Reproductive Health in the UK
  • Lord Patel of Bradford, chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on Men’s Health
  • Pamela Nash MP, chair, All Party Parliamentary Group on HIV and AIDS
  • Mike Freer MP

The Anal Cancer Foundation has used advocacy successfully in the US to extend the HPV vaccination to males. In 2011, the Foundation led a coalition in petitioning the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in order to elevate the status of male HPV vaccination from permissive to routine.  In October 2011, the ACIP voted in favour of routine HPV vaccinations for males. Since then, male vaccination rates in the US have risen from 1% to 21%. We hope to repeat this success in the UK, Europe, and beyond, until HPV has been eradicated globally.

To find out more about the campaign and to stay up to speed with developments, please visit HPVAction.org or email hpvaction@gmail.com.