Australian research that could drastically reduce rates of anal cancer and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) among gay men has received a major boost in funding.

The Kirby Institute at UNSW has been awarded almost $2 million by Cancer Council NSW for research dedicated to reducing mortality rates from anal cancer.

The grant is among $12 million awarded by the Cancer Council to 21 cancer research projects across the state, and comes shortly after the federal government announced the expansion of the National HPV Vaccination Program to include school-age boys.

Cancer Council statistics estimate that 64 per cent of gay men have HPV, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of anal cancer cases in Australia.

While anal cancer is relatively rare among the general population, gay men are 20 times more likely to contract it.

Kirby Institute program head Professor Andrew Grulich said they were delighted to receive the grant.

“Our research will look at ways of identifying and treating anal cancer early when survival rates are still high. This funding will help us examine means of preventing anal cancer related deaths and improving early stage treatments,” he said.

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