BASHH host parliamentary drop-in session

26th February 2016

On Wednesday 24th February, the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH), in partnership with the Terrence Higgins Trust and HPVAction, hosted a ‘drop-in session’ in the House of Commons to raise awareness amongst Parliamentarians of the critically important Government tender for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme in the UK.


Health Select Committee members Ben Bradshaw MP and Paula Sherriff MP with the team

The existing HPV Vaccination Programme was introduced in the UK in September 2008 for all girls aged 12 to 13, using the single-purpose bivalent vaccine as a first step to prevent cervical cancer in women.

In 2011 the Government improved the vaccine programme by introducing a multi-purpose quadrivalent vaccine, which offered additional protection against the strains of the HPV virus responsible for sexual transmitted infections such as genital warts, as well as protection against cancers associated with HPV.

The government are currently deciding which vaccine to use for the next three years, and there are concerns that if the quadrivalent vaccine is not maintained, women and their partners will be left vulnerable to avoidable sexual infections such as genital warts, a condition which costs an estimated £58.44 million a year to treat.

Reverting to a bivalent vaccine could also jeopardise the recently proposed extension of the vaccination programme by the government’s vaccine advisory body to men who have sex with men (MSM) as it is unlikely that the MSM programme would pass the cost-effectiveness requirements.

All those who attended the event are being encouraged to raise these concerns in Parliament, as well as communicate their support for maintaining the current quadrivalent HPV vaccine through social media.

A final decision on the choice of vaccine to be used for the existing girls’ HPV vaccination programme is expected by the end of April.


Sir Peter Bottomley MP, Elizabeth Carlin and Peter Greenhouse

Commenting on the forthcoming Government decision on the choice of tender for the HPV vaccination programme, Sir Peter Bottomley MP, co-sponsor of the session said:

“We’ve got to move forwards, not backwards. We ought within 10 years to have eradicated genital warts in women, followed by men who have sex with women, followed by men who have sex with men.”

Dr Elizabeth Carlin, President of BASHH:

“Hosting this Parliamentary drop-in session provided an invaluable opportunity to discuss concerns around the future of the HPV vaccination programme with key Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum. The disastrous ramifications that would be brought about by reverting to the bivalent vaccine really resonated with all those we spoke with. It is vitally important that the quadrivalent vaccine is maintained, thereby ensuring that millions of people are not put in danger of poorer sexual health outcomes, increased risk of genital warts and jeopardising the future of HPV vaccination for men who have sex with men.”


The BASHH/THT team on the day (from left to right; Alex Phillips (THT), Dr John McSorley, Peter Greenhouse, Dr Elizabeth Carlin, Dr Colm O’Mahony)

 

Press contact details:
To learn more about the session or to arrange an interview with a sexual health clinician, please contact simon.whalley@munroforster.com or 0207 089 6116.

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