Human papilloma virus (HPV) causes warts but also is the underlying cause of various cancers, particularly cervical cancer in women. HPV vaccines are now available and recommended for young women to prevent cervical cancer, and in the case of quadrivalent vaccine also genital warts. [see our news item: Quadrivalent wart vaccine would prevent high cost of care for genital warts ] The vaccine is more effective if administered to children aged 11-12 years, before they become sexually active
Now a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the quadrivalent vaccine can prevent intraepithelial neoplasia, a precursor of anal cancer, in young gay men. anal intraepithelial neoplasia associated with the HPV types linked to cervical cancer (HPV 16 and 18) were reduced by 55% in the vaccinated group. Consequently the US Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practice has recommended the roll out of vaccination to all children aged 11-12, regardless of sex.