The Crucial Role of the HPV Vaccine: Global Trends and Japan's Current Stance
School of Medicine, Hokkaido University
Today’s topic is about the HPV vaccine, especially focusing on our recently published paper ( https://www.researchgate.net/publication/372251998_A_call_for_bridging_gender_gap_in_HPV_vaccination_policies_in_Japan )
As you know, its significance cannot be overemphasized on preventing cervical cancer in women. However, men are also at risk with HPV leading to conditions such as throat and anal cancers, which is often overlooked.
Between 1975 and 2014, the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer rose by 57.3% in the US, and similar trends were observed in countries like Australia, Canada, and Japan. Notably, about 70% of these cases are tied to HPV infections. Moreover, the prevalence of HPV-induced genital warts is concerning; in the US alone, approximately 20 million people are affected. Japan has seen a rising trend since 2011, with 5,685 cases reported in 2020.
Countries like the US, UK, and Australia have recognized the importance of HPV vaccination for men. These nations view it as a collective duty, aiming to protect the broader community and partners.
However, where does Japan stand in this landscape?
In Japan, efforts toward HPV vaccination for men remain somewhat in the shadows. While the government announced in 2020 an inclusion strategy for men in the HPV vaccination drive, practical implementation remains inconsistent. Presently, initiatives are primarily limited to certain municipalities, such as Hirakawa City in Aomori and Nanyo City in Yamagata. On a brighter note, the resumption and steady rise in the HPV vaccination rate among women hint at a potential decline in cervical cancer incidence (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/371034824_Underlying_background_of_the_current_trend_of_increasing_HPV_vaccination_coverage_in_Japan )
Yet, it's imperative to underscore the importance of HPV vaccination for men. By getting vaccinated, men not only safeguard themselves but also their loved ones.
In essence, HPV vaccination deserves attention from both genders. Each individual's proactive stance can not only protect oneself but also beloved ones. Vaccination isn't merely a personal affair—it's a societal endeavor. Let's acknowledge its importance and act accordingly.
Wishing you health and safety,