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Government decision on national human papillomavirus vaccine programme is a sad day for sexual health

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It is unbelievable! There we were in genitourinary medicine looking forward to the day in the not too distant future when we could actually complete a clinic and say “where have all the warts gone?” The Department of Health’s decision to go for Cervarix, which only contains human papillomavirus (HPV) types 16 and 18 as opposed to Gardasil, which contains 6, 11, 16 and 18 has shocked and appalled all of us working in sexual health. Here at last was a wonderful opportunity to make a major and lasting impact on one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the United Kingdom. How could they have reached such a decision? All the science, all the trials, all the evidence showed both vaccines to be very effective at dealing with HPV 16 and 18 disease, but Gardasil …

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  • Competing interests: COM has received lecture fees from both GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi Pasteur MSD.