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April 18, 2013
For immediate release

HPV Vaccine Program expands to include boys

Health and Wellness

The province’s vaccine program for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine will expand this fall to include free vaccinations for Grade 6 boys, says Minister of Health and Wellness Doug Currie.

“Prince Edward Island is proud to be the first province to announce an expansion to its HPV Vaccination program to include boys,” said Minister Currie. “This initiative, funded through existing resources in our department budget, highlights our commitment to our provincial immunization programs.”

The HPV vaccine has been provided to Grade 6 girls since the 2007 school year. The program is delivered in Island schools by Health PEI’s Public Health Nurses.

HPV infection is associated with a high percentage of cancers of the mouth, nose, and throat as well as cancers of the penis and anus in males. HPV also contributes to over 90 per cent of genital warts in both sexes. In females, the HPV vaccine will reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.

“HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection among young adults and over half will develop infection over their lifetime,” said Dr. Lamont Sweet, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer. “By offering the vaccine to males, we can hopefully decrease the spread of HPV infection.”

Studies have shown that the addition of boys to the HPV immunization program by age 12 increases prevention of ano-genital warts in both males and females and of cervical cancer among their female partners. In January 2012, Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommended the use of the HPV vaccine which protects against 4 strains of the virus for males.

“The goal of our provincial immunization programs is to provide safe and effective vaccines to protect our population against vaccine preventable disease,” said Minister Currie. “Enhancing our HPV Vaccine program is an important investment in the current and future health and well-being of Islanders.”

Media Contact: April Winchester
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