OUR ROLE & IMPACT
Introducing the HPV vaccination for boys, as well as girls, can stop many preventable cancers.
NOMAN advocates globally for gender-neutral HPV immunisation in order to eliminate all HPV cancers. Our proven model of stake-holder alignment working with doctors, industry leaders, governments, non-profit think tanks, patients and supporters has enabled us to explore creative approaches that lead to the most efficient path towards ending the devastation caused by HPV. Our unique series of endurance events such as the Barcelona - Ibiza: Row to End HPV serve as a powerful vehicle to generate conversation about the HPV, and how we can prevent 5% of all cancers.
In most countries, only girls receive the HPV vaccine. As of January 2024, 62 countries now vaccinate, or plan to immunise, boys as well as girls against this devastating virus vs just the USA and its unincorporated territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico when we began back in 2013 (our parent The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation formed and led a coalition of organisations which testified to the CDC, leading to a recommendation for boys and girls to be vacinated against HPV in the USA in 2011).
A gender-neutral virus demands a gender-neutral solution. Some examples of our programmes and impact are below:
ELIMINATING HPV CANCERS IN EUROPE
Following our success in the US and UK, our focus is working with motivated partners and stakeholders to secure gender neutral HPV vaccination across Europe. We are calling for urgent evidence-based action to eliminate cancers and diseases caused by HPV by the EU and all governments throughout the WHO European region. In the 31 EU countries, HPV is responsible for 53,000 new cases of cancer. Across the wider WHO European region that figure increases to nearly 90,000 new cases of cancer.
In 2019 we partnered with the European Cancer Organisation as a founding member of the HPV Action Europe Network to eliminate HPV cancers. Some of our achievements in Europe are detailed below:
Just 14 months after the Network's launch, we secured commitment towards the elimination of HPV cancers in the EU, through Europe's Beating Cancer Plan which was published on 3rd February 2021. This contained key measures raised in our case for action, 'Viral Protection: Achieving the Possible. A Four Step Plan for Eliminating HPV Cancers in Europe'. 'With dedicated funds under the EU4Health programme and other funding instruments, Europe's Beating Cancer Plan will support Member States' efforts to extend routine vaccination against HPV of girls and boys - in order to eliminate cervical cancer and other cancers caused by human papillomaviruses. The objective is to vaccinate at least 90% of the EU target population of girls and to significantly increase the vaccination of boys by 2030.' Outlined as a 'flagship initiative on prevention' this announcement represents a great signal of intent by the European Commission to prevent HPV Cancers in the region.
NOMAN provided funding to seed the first ever report on HPV Prevention in Europe. This project will support the implementation of effective vaccination and screening by identifying current policy, practice, implementation, and gaps in the delivery of HPV vaccination programmes and screening across WHO Europe. This data collection and analysis will in turn inform our strategy to implement change in the region; identifying the countries in which we can support and encourage HPV advocacy, and in turn build towards the elimination of HPV related diseases. Read 'Putting HPV on the Map: The State of HPV Prevention Programmes in the WHO European Region'.
The World Health Organization and the European Commission have developed strategies to eliminate cervical cancer, with a goal of 90% HPV vaccination uptake for girls and increasing vaccination rates for boys. However, current vaccination rates in Europe and elsewhere vary widely due to low vaccine confidence among parents, carers, and young people. To address this, HPV Action Network commissioned a review of interventions that have been shown to improve intention to be vaccinated and uptake rates. Compared to other cancer prevention strategies, HPV vaccination is easy to deliver, has an immediate positive health impact, and is highly effective. 'Improving HPV Vaccine Uptake in Children, Adolescents and Young Adults', was also published in a paper in the journal STI.
Started work on pilot projects in Romania and Bulgaria to develop multi-organisation advocacy campaigns as part of the Action Now on HPV project.
The Network successfully applied for EU4Health funding for the two-year PROTECT-EUROPE project which will focus on increasing HPV vaccination uptake in EU member states. under the EU4Health Programme 2021-2027, this project will include the development of effective public health messaging on HPV vaccination, and proposing innovations that will improve uptake, for example, bundling adolescent vaccines.
SECURING ‘JABS FOR THE BOYS’ IN THE UK
HPV Action was co-founded by the Throat Cancer Foundation and NOMAN is an Island’s parent charity, The HPV and Anal Cancer Foundation, in 2013. After 5 years campaigning the UK announced in July 2018 that boys would now be covered by the national HPV vaccination programme. HPV Action’s main target over the five years was the government’s vaccination advisory committee (known as JCVI) which, in 2013, had begun an assessment of whether boys should be vaccinated. At that time, the JCVI was expected to make a decision in 2015. This was then postponed to 2017 before finally being made in 2018 (vaccination programmes began in 2019).
HPV Action achieved its goal through the following process:
Recruiting other patient and professional organisations with an interest in cancer, sexual health, men’s health, gay men’s health and public health as well as oral health. In total, 51 organisations joined our coalition.
Developing a media profile raising awareness of the importance of gender neutral vaccination and featuring the case studies of HPV-related cancer patients who advocated for change (with the help of NOMAN’s PR team, Street and Co). Additionally, new angles on the story including a national survey of dentists and doctors found that 95% of respondents thought boys should be vaccinated. The support of the Mail on Sunday for our campaign from January 2018 onwards was also of huge importance through a series of hard hitting articles.
Several meetings were held with the JCVI secretariat and the Public Health England officials working with JCVI. Detailed responses were made to JCVI consultations. Throughout, HPV Action highlighted concerns with JCVI’s cost-effectiveness modelling and also raised wider issues that needed to be taken into account, not least sex discrimination (in this case, against boys). Huge importance was attached to gathering and disseminating the best-available evidence.
Making the case to opinion-leaders in the field, for example through journal articles and conference presentations, building support among politicians from all parties, lobbying ministers directly and engaging with the officials supporting JCVI.
Attaining the support of many MPs and securing Early Day Motions, Parliamentary Questions, Commons and Lords Debates. Of particular importance were the endorsements by the chairs of several influential All Party Groups, including John Baron from the Cancer APG and Sir Paul Beresford from the Dentistry APG.
RECEIVED INAUGURAL JOE BIDEN CANCER AWARD
On September 20th, 2018, Justine, Tristan and Camille Almada, who started the NOMAN campaign after their mother Paulette passed away from cancer caused by HPV, received the inaugural Biden Cancer Initiative FIERCE award for Leadership through Exemplary and Awesome Purpose. Selected from a pool of over 700 individuals and organizations, the siblings were recognized for “fundamentally improving the cancer experience for patients by creating education, awareness, and research initiatives”.
Greg Simon, President of the Biden Cancer Initiative said: “We learned about so many brave and committed leaders devoted to helping people with cancer from the hundreds of nominations we received. It is no surprise to see so many remarkable efforts making a tremendous difference in the lives of cancer patients. It is our privilege to recognize and spotlight the individuals and organizations who epitomize what it means to be FIERCE in the face of cancer, and allow us to make hope real.”
SPONSORED THE FIRST EVER UK SYMPOSIUM INTO KEY ISSUES IN HPV PREVENTION AND EARLY DIAGNOSIS
The Foundation were one of the lead sponsors for this symposium at the Royal Society for Public Health aimed at clinicians, epidemiologists, scientists, public health specialists, patient organisations and others with a special interest in HPV and who are opinion leaders in this field. The event identified recommendations for action in research, policy and practice and to inform discussion among a wide range of very relevant and influential stakeholders.
The UK has a comprehensive HPV vaccination programme for 12/13 year old girls and a cervical cancer screening programme. The purpose of the Symposium was to identify, better understand and make recommendations about areas where action could be taken to improve the prevention of HPV infection and the early diagnosis of HPV-related disease.
Key topics addressed included:
An overview of HPV epidemiology, prevention and policy
Tackling gaps and inequalities in girls’ uptake of the current HPV vaccination programme
Dilemmas in vaccinating men who have sex with men
The potential for screening for high grade dysplasia, especially in high risk population groups
Challenges in increasing public awareness of HPV-related disease to improve vaccination uptake
The symposium was supported by amongst others, John Baron MP (Chair of APPG on Cancer), Margaret Stanley (Emeritus Professor of Epithelial Biology and Fellow of Christ’s College, University of Cambridge), Chris Bentley (Independent Population Health Consultant), Peter Greenhouse (Consultant in Sexual Health, Bristol and Weston).
ACHIEVED GOVERNMENT-RECOMMENDED VACCINATION FOR ALL US CHILDREN
We have achieved government-recommended vaccination for all children in the US by working with stakeholders in the following advocacy initiatives. We:
Testified before the FDA in support of expanding the Gardasil vaccine’s approval for anal cancer prevention for males and females. The FDA approved Gardasil for the prevention of anal cancer in December 2010.
Formed and led a coalition of 12 organizations to submit multiple joint testimonies to the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to provide males with the same access to the vaccine as females. In October 2011, the CDC voted in favor of routine HPV vaccination for males. The HPV vaccination is now recommended for all 12-13-year-old males and females.
To increase vaccination uptake on a local level, we have:
Testified at the New York City Council’s Committees on Health and Women’s Issues to support vaccination in youth on January 8th 2015.
Worked with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to strategize ways to educate the public about HPV, to increase vaccination among adolescents and to make sure that screening for anal cancer and precancer is occurring in high-risk populations.
Worked with the NY Board of Education to ensure HPV and the vaccine was discussed in the sexual education program in schools.
Presented at an HPV summit in Boston, MA in November 2014. The event was designed to address the HPV burden in the state and develop strategies to increase vaccination through education and awareness.