The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a very common virus which spreads through intimate skin to skin contact.
HPV is the name of a family of common viruses that affect the skin and the mucus membranes (moist tissue that lines parts of the body), such as those in your cervix, anus, mouth and throat. There are many different types of the virus, some can cause warts and certain types are “high risk” and can lead to the development of cervical abnormalities and possibly cervical cancer.
Most people carry HPV at some time in their life and it causes no symptoms. The body often clears the virus on its own before any problems occur. There is no way of knowing when you caught the virus as it can lay dormant for years.
We offer a vaccine called Gardasil® which protects against the main high risk types (16, 18) as well as 2 common low risk types (6, 11) which have been associated with genital warts.
Who can have HPV vaccination?
Everyone (males and females) between the ages of 18 and 45 can have the vaccination if there is evidence of no current infection with the subtypes vaccinated against. Safety in pregnancy has not been established and we therefore do not recommend vaccination during pregnancy.
Gardasil is for preventative use only and has no effect on active HPV infections. Gardasil has not been shown to have a therapeutic effect and is therefore not indicated for treatment of cervical cancer, genital warts or other established HPV-related conditions.
What will happen?
You will receive 3 injections over a 6 month period (0, 2 and 6 months). The doctor or nurse will give you an injection into the upper arm or buttock muscle.
Where can I have the vaccination?
We offer Gardasil vaccinations at our Medical Centres and as part of some of our GP appointments - contact us on the number above to find your nearest location.
Vaccination is not a substitute for routine cervical screening.
Since no vaccine is 100% effective and Gardasil will not provide protection against every HPV type or against existing HPV infections, routine cervical screening remains critically important. Vaccination will also not protect you against any other sexually transmitted infections.
How can I protect myself against HPV in the future?
HPV is transmitted through intimate skin to skin contact. HPV can be present in all genital areas and it is therefore not possible to prevent catching HPV by wearing condoms. Despite this, condoms are always a good idea as they will help to prevent transmission of a wide range of sexually transmitted infections.