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Human Papillomavirus: Homosexuality

Department of Health written question – answered on 30th November 2016.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Co-Leader of the Green Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what proportion of men who have sex with men are estimated to have been infected with the human papilloma virus strains covered by the quadrivalent vaccine at an age prior to the average age of first attendance by men who have sex with men at Genitourinary medicine and HIV clinics.

Photo of Nicola Blackwood Nicola Blackwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing is not routinely performed hence we have no data on HPV infection at, or prior to, attendance at sexual health clinics.

Public Health England (PHE) has previously reported that the median age of first attendance of men who have sex with men (MSM) at genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinics in England between 2010 and 2012 was 31 years old. A single-site study of HPV prevalence amongst MSM attending a GUM clinic in central London found a prevalence of HPV16/18/6/11 amongst men aged 18-40 years of 32.5%. Many HPV infections clear naturally. MSM who do not attend GUM clinics may have different prevalence of HPV than MSM who do attend GUM clinics.

PHE has used mathematical modelling to estimate HPV infection rates by age in work to inform the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation’s (JCVI) advice regarding the vaccination of MSM attending GUM clinics: this work has been described in the relevant JCVI minutes and full modelling details will be published shortly.

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