'Universal HPV vaccination' call

Schoolboys in the UK should receive the HPV vaccine to protect against throat cancer, a charity has urged.

The jab was introduced in 2008 for girls, to immunise them against the virus that causes cervical cancer.

The Throat Cancer Foundation says the vaccine protects against other cancers and has urged the government to extend the programme to all 12-year-olds.

So far Australia is the only country to routinely offer universal vaccination to boys and girls. The measure has also been recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control.

HPV, which stands for human papillomavirus, is a very common, mainly sexually transmitted, infection.

The vaccine currently used in the UK protects against HPV types 16 and 18, which are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer, and types six and 11, which cause genital warts in males and females.