About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides a summary of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination uptake among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) since implementation of the national programme in July 2017.

Main points

During the six years of this vaccination programme:

  • 23,975 MSM who attended a sexual health clinic since July 2017 were eligible for the vaccine. Of these, 65% (15,493) received at least one dose, and thus, entered the programme.
  • Of the 15,493 men who have entered the programme, 83% (12,910) have completed the full vaccination regimen.
Image caption MSM HPV uptake (%) by NHS Board from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2023
Chart showing the uptake HPV % by NHS Board over the 6 years
  • Over half of the men entering the programme were aged 20-29 at the time of their first injection, while fewer than 1 in 10 were aged under 20.
  • All NHS Board areas have been offering the vaccine to eligible individuals since July 2017. However, there is variation in HPV uptake for both vaccine programme completion and uptake of at least one dose by NHS Board among those eligible, ranging from 45% to 78% uptake.


HPV is a virus transmitted through sexual contact and there are over 200 different types. Some types (referred to as high risk types) can cause cancers of the anus, penis, mouth and throat, vagina and vulva. Other (low risk types) cause genital warts, which is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases which can have debilitating social, sexual and psychological effects for affected individuals.

The programme was initiated based on advice from the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which recognised that MSM received little benefit from the national female only HPV programme, while also being at excess risk of HPV-associated disease.

An HPV immunisation programme for MSM aged up to and including 45 years old (external website) was introduced in Scotland in July 2017. This is in addition to the school-based vaccination programme targeting girls which was implemented in 2008 and extended to include adolescent boys in academic year 2019-20. MSM are routinely offered the HPV vaccine through sexual health clinics, with most offered a two-dose schedule, six months apart, since April 2022 (with some exceptions). Prior to April 2022 a three-dose schedule was offered. Vaccine dosage guidance changed in 2023 (external website). On evidence and advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) From January 2023 under 25s are offered a single-dose while those 25 and over are offered a two-dose schedule.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be October 2024.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact Stuart Wrigglesworth at phs.maternitystats@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

If you require publications or documents in other formats, please email phs.otherformats@phs.scot.

To report any issues with a publication, please email phs.generalpublications@phs.scot.

Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 21 March 2024
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