The second National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-2) has revealed that HPV (the virus that causes many types of cancer and genital warts) is very common in Britain, particularly young women – who are encouraged to get vaccinated against the virus.  The vaccine is provided by the NHS for young women and girls only.

The HPV virus was detected in 29% of urine samples from women and 17% of samples from men. Dr Richard Ma, a GP with an interest in sexual health, said: ‘An immunisation programme to protect young girls from acquiring HR-HPV [High Risk -HPV Virus strains] (16 and 18) using a bivalent vaccine before becoming sexually active was introduced in the UK in 2008. A quadrivalent vaccine that also gives protection against LR-HPV [Low-Risk HPV] (6 and 11) will be available from autumn 2012. The study suggests sexually transmitted HPV is highly prevalent in the population. The findings of overall HPV DNA prevalence were similar to studies in the USA, as were the differences between men and women. It also gives further evidence that some HR-HPVs are strongly associated with sexual behaviour, which supports the vaccination policy to protect young girls from cervical cancer before they become sexually active.”

Better2Know offers testing for HPV, Cervical Cancer (PAP Smears) and genital warts in all of its nationwide STD testing clinics.  Better2Know also offers the Gardasil vaccine against HPV (6, 11, 16 and 18) across the UK.

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