Gay men in
Britain are requesting treatment with Merck & Co Inc's
new HPV vaccine Gardasil, with dozens immunized in
recent weeks, a London clinic said on Friday.
licensed for use last year against human papillomavirus
(HPV) -- a leading cause of cervical cancer in women -- but
the sexually transmitted virus can also trigger anal
and penile cancers.
offering vaccination to gay men in January and recently
we've been giving about 10 a week," said Dr. Sean Cummings
of the Freedomhealth clinic in London's Harley Street.
sexually active people are already contaminated with HPV,
patients are swabbed before vaccination to determine which,
if any, sub-types of HPV they may be carrying.
"If you've got a
full house (of HPV sub-types) then there is no point
in immunizing," Cummings said.
"The situation in
gay men is analogous to the early stages of cervical
cancer screening, and the rates of anal cancer in men who
have anal sex are akin to those prior to the cervical
cancer screening program, at around 35 per 100,000."
experts said the benefits of vaccinating men were not yet
Higgins Trust, Britain's leading HIV and AIDS charity, said
the case for mass vaccination in men would depend on the
outcome of further clinical trials.
450 pounds ($880) for a three-dose course at the
Freedomhealth clinic, which is highly regarded for
its gay men's health service. (Reuters)