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Northern Ireland gay men to be offered human papilloma virus jab

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Published 06/08/2016

Health Minister Michelle O'Neill
Health Minister Michelle O'Neill

Gay men under the age of 45 are to be offered a human papilloma virus (HPV) jab on the NHS, the health minister has announced.

The jab protects against the HPV, which has been linked to a range of cancers most commonly found in men who have sex with men.

Michelle O'Neill said her department was investing £100,000 in the new vaccination programme after seeking advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.

She said ahead of a visit to the Belfast Pride festival: "This will be a targeted vaccination programme for men who have sex with men aged up to 45 who attend genito-urinary medicine (GUM) and HIV clinics."

A similar decision was taken by the Welsh health minister last December.

Most people would need three doses of the HPV vaccine, ideally over a 12-month period.

The vaccine has long been offered to adolescent girls as part of the fight against cervical cancer.

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