With the hope of killing off a cancer-causing virus, young doctors are calling on all young people to get vaccinated against HPV for free in the Bay of Plenty.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board junior doctors and nurses have led by example and got the HPV immunisation and encourage other young people to join.

The free HPV immunisation is available to men and women between 16 and 26, with men only able to receive the free vaccine for the past two years.

The vaccine protects against human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus which causes almost all cervical cancer as well as several other cancers that affect both men and women.


Dr Noah Bunkley, 26, said it would be great if his generation stopped HPV related cancers.

"If you look at history, smallpox was eradicated through immunisation; it would be really cool to see if we could do something for our generation, to actually eradicate cancers caused by HPV."

"I think as a young man, you generally feel invincible...but HPV is a really common virus," he said.

HPV is a group of very common viruses which infect about four out of five people at some time in their lives, and causes cells to grow abnormally which could over time lead to cancer.

Dr Ezra Ritchie, 25, said it was important to for men and woman to get to vaccinated as the virus causes an array of cancers.

"It's important that guys take the opportunity to get immunised as it's only recently been known that there are cancers that guys can get that are related to HPV, such as mouth and throat cancers."

Toi Te Ora Public Health physician and medical officer of health Dr Jim Miller said the vaccine was safe, good at preventing the virus infection and reducing the HPV-related cancer risks for young people in the future.

The free HPV immunisation is available through appointment with a doctor.


For further information visit www.toiteora.govt.nz/HPV or call 0800 IMMUNE.