What is HPV?
The human papilloma virus HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. In many cases, infection does not cause any symptoms, but it can cause genital warts, and even lead to genital cancers, including cervical cancer (the second most common form of cancer in young women).
HPV is transmitted during sexual contact. The infection often clears by itself due to your body’s immune response. In some cases, however, the infection persists and remains unnoticed. In these cases, it could lead to cancerous lesions. HPV is the most common cause of cervical cancer and infection with certain types of HPV increases your risk of getting cervical cancer.
The use of condoms reduces your risk of contracting HPV. However, condoms are not 100% effective at preventing HPV infection as the virus can be present on the skin in the entire genital area.
Should men get the vaccine?
Although the vaccine is not routinely provided to teenage boys, it is still highly beneficial for young men. HPV is associated with certain types of penile and throat cancer, as well as genital warts. The vaccine will lower your risk of developing these types of cancer while also protecting you from genital warts, a very common sexually transmitted disease. As with women, it is best to get vaccinated early on in life before you have been infected with any type of HPV.
What is the HPV vaccine?
The vaccine is routinely offered to girls between the ages of 12 and 13 as part of the NHS vaccination programme and is offered for free to girls from age 12 up to their 18th birthday, but it is also recommended for men and women under the age of 27 in order to help protect them against these diseases.
The vaccine protects against the HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58. Types 6 and 11 cause 90% of genital warts. Genital warts are benign growths which occur in the genital area. They are not dangerous, but they need to be treated, and you can also pass them onto other sexual partners. Once you have been infected, you may remain contagious for life and the warts can recur at any point in life, especially if your immune system is weakened. Types 16 and 18 (and others) are the primary cause of cervical cancer in women and they are also associated with cancers of the vagina, throat, penis and anus.
HPV is an extremely common infection and over three quarters of sexually active women contract it at some point in their lives.
Who is this service for?
Almost everyone can have the HPV vaccine. It is not suitable for pregnant women, but it is suitable for breastfeeding women. We do not provide the vaccine to men and women over the age of 26.
It is licensed for use in children over the age of 9.
How many doses do I need?
The HPV vaccine consists of two or three doses, which are given by injection. The number of doses you require depends on your age.
Children under the age of 15 require two doses. The second dose should be given 5 - 13 months after the first dose.
If you are 15 or older, you require three doses to be protected. The second dose should be given at least one month after the first. The third dose has to be given at least three months after the second dose. All three doses have to be given within the course of one year.
How is the vaccine given?
The HPV vaccine is given as an injection. The injections are given in the upper arm. Although the vaccine is usually tolerated well, redness and soreness at the injection site may occur.
What are the side effects of the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccination can cause temporary side effects in some patients. Side effects include headache, fever, nausea and dizziness. You may also notice some redness, swelling, itching, bruising or redness at the site of injection.
We offer two versions of the vaccination:
- Gardasil - £125 per vaccination (Protects against main 4 strains)
- Gardasil 9- £150 per vaccination (Protects against 9 strains)
Our service is available with no appointment necessary following a short consultation with the pharmacist.
Price: Small charge
Frequency: When required...
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