Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the name given to a common group of viruses. Some of these viruses can cause conditions like warts and verrucas, but some are ‘high risk’ because they are linked to the development of a number of different cancers such as genital cancers, anal cancer and cancers of the head and neck. HPV is very common and can be caught through any kind of sexual contact with any other person who already has the virus.
What protection is currently available against HPV?
For the last ten years, adolescent girls have been offered the HPV vaccine for free by the NHS when they are in school Year 8. Since the vaccination programme started, there has been an 86% reduction in infection rates of HPV types 16 and 18 in women aged 16-21 yrs. As around 80% of all cervical cancers are caused by these types of HPV, we can expect to see a large reduction in cervical cancer rates in the years to come.
What about the boys?
It was recently announced that from September 2019 the NHS will be offering the free HPV vaccine to boys too. This will help protect to protect males against a number of HPV-related cancers and conditions, including head and neck (oropharyngeal) cancers, penile cancer and anal cancer, as well as genital warts.
What if your son has missed out on this valuable vaccination?
As the government is not offering a catch-up programme for boys over the age of 12-13 yrs, the only option is to have the vaccination privately.
The Walcote Practice offers the Gardasil 9 vaccine which protects against seven types of high-risk HPV which may cause cancer and also two common low-risk types of HPV which can cause genital warts. The current vaccination offered by the NHS only protects against four types of HPV in total. The Gardasil 9 vaccine is available to both boys and girls and, if given at the right time, (i.e. ideally but not necessarily prior to having sexual partners) this vaccine can prevent up to 90% of HPV related cancers including throat, penile, cervical and anal cancers.
The cost per vaccine dose is £145 plus a £30 consultation fee. Two to three doses of the vaccination will be required, depending upon the person’s age.
To find out more, or to book a HPV vaccination consultation or any other appointment with our experienced GPs at The Walcote Practice, call us now on 01962 828175 or email email@example.com