From this month, (September 2019) all 12 and 13-year-old children, boys as well as girls, in school Year 8 will be offered the first dose of the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine to protect them against certain types of cancers.
The second dose will be offered about six to 12 months later.
There are more than 100 different types of HPV, and around 40 that affect the genital area. HPV infections can be spread by any skin-to-skin contact and are usually found on the fingers, hands, mouth and genitals. This means the virus can be spread during any kind of sexual activity, including touching.
The HPV vaccine works best if girls and boys get it before they come into contact with HPV (in other words, before they become sexually active).
The HPV vaccination programme began 10 years ago and has been routinely offered to secondary school-aged girls in this time, but now the programme has opened up to include boys.
Most people will get an HPV infection at some point in their lives and their bodies will get rid of it naturally without treatment.
Hamida Serdiwala, GP Care Group 0-19 Assistant Clinical director & Interim Clinical School Health Lead, said: "We fully support the campaign to give the HPV vaccine to teenage boys across the UK as well as girls. It's estimated that by giving the lifesaving jab to boys, as well as girls, when they're in Year 8, the UK can expect to see the prevention of more than 100,000 cancers by the year 2058."
"The vaccination programme has been credited with drastically reducing rates of HPV infection and is expected to all but wipe out cervical cancer."
Find out more information about the HPV vaccination programme
Watch - Information video: Michelle, an immunisation nurse, explains what the HPV vaccine is, how it works and why it's important.