HPV Awareness supports Grade 9 Collective Voice program students: Saskatchewan's HPV vaccination program is unfair

MONTREAL, Feb. 8, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Right now, the HPV vaccination program for boys looks a lot like a lottery system where only the boys that are lucky enough to live in certain provinces get to benefit from protection against HPV-related cancers. This is unfair and unethical. To remedy this situation, HPV Awareness is asking Saskatchewan's government to prioritize an HPV vaccination program for boys this year because, economically, this is a cost-effective solution, which has already been demonstrated in economic models. Why would it be a wise investment for 8 out of 10 provinces and not wise for Saskatchewan?

This year alone, at least 600 cases of HPV-related cancers are expected to be diagnosed in the Prairies, these staggering numbers derive from the Saskatchewan division of the Canadian Cancer Society. We agree with the students who wrote last week's article in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, "Why only vaccinate girls for HPV?" Everyone needs to understand that HPV-related throat cancers in men are growing rapidly and will continue to rise. When we know that one single treatment of an HPV-related cancer costs more than $200,000, not to mention quality of life and productivity issues, it is not hard to calculate the cost effectiveness of vaccinating everyone regardless of gender. Furthermore, jurisdictions in which gender-neutral programs are not in place are still demonstrating less than optimal vaccination uptake, reducing the impact of "herd immunity". In other words, we cannot rely on girls being vaccinated as a way of preventing boys from getting this virus. 

Toronto researchers have clearly demonstrated that a gender-neutral HPV vaccination program would save the healthcare system between $8 million and $28 million over the boys' lifespan, varying according to the efficacy of the vaccine and how many boys receive the vaccine. 

Yesterday we saw New Brunswick jump aboard, announcing that they will be expanding their HPV vaccination program to include boys. Manitoba also expanded their program in 2016 to include Grade 6 boys and Alberta started the inclusion of Grade 5 boys in 2014. It is 2017 now, and high time that vaccination programs be made fair for all males, regardless of their sexual orientation and geographical location. Furthermore, a catch-up program should be implemented into the vaccination program, similar to that offered to girls, as to optimize protection amongst all boys, including those who are now past Grade 6.

Since no screening exists to prevent HPV-related cancers in men, putting prevention in place is paramount. HPV vaccination programs must be financially supported so that the male population can have equal access. Saskatchewan stigmatizes boys by not making free access to the HPV vaccine for boys a priority, and they deserve the same protection girls are offered. No one wants to carry the heavy burden of HPV cancers, nor be told it's because of money that they have unfortunately become the newest number that makes up the growing statistics of men with HPV-related cancers.

About HPV Awareness 
Partnered with the SOGC and The Society of Gynecologic Oncology of Canada (SGOC), HPV Awareness is a national, bilingual, registered charity, the only one of its kind in Canada raising awareness of HPV, primarily through our education programs and on-line tools, which includes our www.ourway.ca platform. Since 2006, we have provided HPV information throughout our Canadian school systems to students of all ages, their parents, and school faculty. There is a huge need for impartial, age-appropriate, simple and precise sexual health education in schools and homes. We work nationally to educate providers, parents and young people, by improving adherence to existing HPV vaccination programs.

 

SOURCE HPV Awareness Corporation

For further information: Teresa Norris, info@hpvawareness.org, tel: 514-214-6469

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www.hpvawareness.org

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