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I have spent all my life teaching boys but have never heard of HPV or the need for a special vaccine to combat it. Now I understand that such a vaccine is necessary to protect boys and young  men from developing throat cancer from sexual activity even later in life. I would think that throat cancer must be the most horrible form of cancer.

I believe that research confirms that there is a direct link between cancer of the throat and oral sex. It appears that a vaccine to fight HPV, a common sexually transmitted infection, is already available, free of charge, for young females.

There is no specific cure for the virus which can lie dormant for years. Doctors in Ireland say there is need to "act speedily" because of the recent increase in male throat cancer. The increased instance of HPV has been partly blamed on changed sexual activity, especially oral sex, among young people. Our Department of Health says that a programme for school boys would not be "cost effective" at this time but the Department would continue to examine the situation.