Better2Know is the UK’s leading provider of private sexual health testing services. As well as providing comprehensive tests and screens for common STIs such as HIV, Chlamydia, Syphilis and Gonorrhoea, we also offer a wide range of vaccinations to help prevent the spread of infection.
Better2Know’s selection of HPV vaccinations are available at private clinics across the UK. There are over 100 strains of the human papilloma virus, with certain types resulting in genital warts and others causing various cancers, including cervical cancer. Though it’s not just girls that are at risk from HPV. The virus also causes a high number of male cancers each year, mainly throat and mouth forms the disease. So, should boys be vaccinated against the infection?
Ten years ago, under increasing pressure to combat the threat of cervical cancer, the government introduced a national HPV immunisation programme into UK schools. The Gardasil vaccine was subsequently made available for free across the country for girls aged between 12 and 17 (11-17 in Scotland). However, only girls in year eight at secondary school are routinely offered the vaccination.
Though experts are claiming that a routine vaccination for boys could reduce the number of cases of both cervical and oral cancers, it remains that only girls are offered the vaccine for free on the NHS. Meanwhile in Australia, boys of 12 and 13 have been receiving HPV vaccinations for over five years.
Back in 2008, experts considered evidence for offering the vaccination to boys as well. It was eventually decided that the high coverage amongst girls would provide sufficient “herd protection” for boys. In 2013, the Department for Health said they had no plans to extend the vaccination to boys. However, following advice from the JCVI (Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation) and in the face of growing calls from organisations like the British Medical Association, the Government is now reviewing its position.
According to the Telegraph, delegates at the BMA’s annual conference in Brighton voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of a motion calling for the HPV vaccination to be available for “all school age children of both sexes” and “administered at primary school to be more effective”.
The motion was introduced by Dr Lucy-Jane Davis, chairperson of the BMA’s Bristol division. Dr Davis argues that the benefit of vaccinating boys is largely to ‘protect those who go on to have sex with other men’. Urging her fellow delegates to support the proposals, she said: “This is about protecting men from really nasty cancers that can kill them.”
The World Health Organisation’s recommendation is that HPV vaccinations should be available in all countries that can afford to do so. At Better2Know, we share the belief that everyone should have access to both HPV vaccinations and HPV testing, regardless of gender.
Better2Know provides two Gardasil vaccinations to protect against HPV. The Gardasil 4 vaccine protects against types 6,11,16 and 18. 90% of genital warts are caused by types 6 and 11, impacting men and women. Types 16 and 18 are the predominant causes of cervical cancer and, though cervical cancer only affects women, the two virus types can still be transmitted by men.
As well as offering the Gardasil 4 vaccine, many of Better2Know’s clinics in the UK also offer the Gardasil 9 vaccine. Gardasil 9 is the only vaccine to provide protection against nine types of HPV, including: 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58. Collectively, these HPV types are responsible for most HPV-related cancers and diseases in both women and men.
Gardasil vaccines will help to prevent vulval, vaginal, cervical and anal cancers, as well as genital warts. These vaccinations will not protect you from any HPV types that you might already have acquired, nor will it provide protection for all the high-risk types of the virus. So, it is important that women to continue to attend routine smear tests, which are available privately with Better2Know.
Whether you are male or female, if you are sexually active Better2Know can provide confidential testing for HPV at private clinics nationwide. Using a single swab sample, Better2Know’s highly accurate HPV test will detect up to 15 high-risk and 5 lower-risk strains of the virus. Our HPV testing is also available as part of a combined screen along with a PAP Smear.
If your test is positive, Better2Know’s expert sexual health advisory team will help you access the treatment and support you need moving forward. We will also refer you to a specialist service, if necessary. Better2Know has a network of experienced doctors situated throughout the UK. Our Patient Services team can arrange private telephone or face-to-face consultations, either before your test or following your results.
If you would like to book a confidential HPV test, or screen of tests, with Better2Know today, just call our dedicated team on the number above. We will process your booking and answer any additional questions you may have. You can also arrange your appointment online now by selecting the Book Now button at the top of the page.
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