HPV Vaccinations Now Free For Boys

As we find out more and more about what epidemic diseases exist in our communities and our knowledge of the individual diseases grows, so do the countermeasures taken by society evolve to incorporate more and more of the new evidence that surfaces. This is why public health policy is such an interesting, difficult and often frustrating intersection of science, sociology and bureaucracy. A new health measure recently adopted in the UK sheds light on how incredibly diverse and interesting this field can be. 

HPV Vaccinations

So far, only teenage girls were given free HPV vaccinations, as it was proven relatively early on that HPV is frequently responsible for the development of cervical cancer. This is because the HPV virus triggers immune responses that make the body react and all too frequently turn cancerous. The fact that oropharyngeal cancer is also frequently caused by HPV was not discovered until recently, and now, public health is scrambling to incorporate their findings and to make new policies that will prevent young people from getting cancer. HPV vaccinations are a good tool for this, as they prevent HPV from attacking the mouth, and thus will prevent immune responses that can trigger the cancer causing function of cells. 


Recently, boys are now also offered free HPV vaccinations, precisely as a reaction to the fact that HPV has now been proven to be the cause behind so many incidents of oral cancer. This will hopefully reduce the incredibly high number of young men who contract one form of oropharyngeal cancer or another each year, as this number is way too high, and is quickly becoming one of the leading causes of death among young men, a group that does not really need a new thing to kill them, after all, men between the ages of 16 and 35 are the most likely to be murdered, die in a work related accident, or overdose on drugs or alcohol. Therefor it makes sense that there would be measures taken to limit the demise of an otherwise death prone segment of the society.