HPV Vaccination Service

For men and women. Helps protect against cervical cancer, genital warts and some other types of cancers

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What is HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)?

HPV is a common virus with over 100 types, most of which are harmless. 

In most cases, your immune system will be able to get rid of it. However, sometimes an HPV infection can persist and it can lead to certain types of cancer, as well as genital warts. 

Four out of five men and women will be infected with the virus at some point in their lives*, so it makes sense to vaccinate against it.

*www.jostrust.org.uk/resources/materials/information

Cancer of the cervix

Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the HPV virus. High risk types 16 and 18 are known to be responsible for 70% of all cases of cervical cancer and types 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 are responsible for a further 20%.

Genital warts in men and women

Genital warts are the second most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in England.**

These are small, fleshy bumps that appear on or around the genital or anal area.

Although they may cause distress and may be unsightly, they aren’t usually considered harmful to health. Around 90% of genital warts are caused by HPV virus types 6 and 11.

**www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Genital_warts/Pages/Introduction.aspx

Other HPV related cancers in men and women

In both men and women, infection with HPV can increase the risk of developing anal cancer and some cancers of the head and neck. 

It can also increase the risk of developing cancer of the vagina and vulva in women and cancer of the penis in men. However, these cancers are less common and other factors are often involved.

How is HPV caught?

Genital HPV infection is very common and is caught through intimate sexual contact with another person who already carries the virus.

It’s important to take precautions against sexually transmitted infections (eg by using condoms). Even if you use condoms there is still a risk you can catch HPV because the virus lives on the skin in and around the genital area and can be spread even if you don’t have full, penetrative sex.

Who is at risk?

Anybody who is sexually active is at risk of contracting a HPV infection. As there may be no symptoms, you can be infected with the virus for years without knowing it. 

The risk of becoming infected does increase with the number of sexual partners, and is more likely if you’ve started having sex at a younger age. However, even people who have only had one sexual partner can be infected with HPV.

Certain factors are known to increase the risk of HPV infections developing into cervical cancer or HPV related anal cancers. These include:

  • Smoking
  • Having a weakened immune system, eg by taking certain medicines or by being HIV positive

In women, the risk of cervical cancer is also increased by:

  • Having multiple children (seven or more)***
  • Having a first child under the age of 17***
  • Using oral contraceptive for five years or more***
  • Having sex with other men
  • Having sexual partners from different countries that don’t offer national vaccination programmes against HPV

***www.cancerresearchuk.org/health-professional/cancer-statistics/statistics-by-cancer-type/cervical-cancer/risk-factors

How can I help protect myself against HPV?

Being vaccinated against HPV offers the best protection. Ideally this should be before becoming sexually active as after this you could already be infected with a HPV virus type that the vaccination can protect against. Although you are still likely to get some of the benefit, you may then not get the full benefit of the vaccination.

School girls aged 12-13 are routinely offered the HPV vaccination as part of the NHS Childhood Vaccination Programme to protect against cervical cancer. The NHS vaccination offers protection against four HPV types, including the high risk types 16 and 18 (these are responsible for 70% of all cases of cervical cancer).

About our HPV service

The Boots HPV Vaccination Service is suitable for men and women aged 16 to 44 inclusive, subject to eligibility criteria.

Our new service offers protection against nine HPV types (types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58), and so helps protect against the virus types responsible for:

  • 90% of cervical, 85-90% of vulvar and 80-85% of vaginal HPV related cancers in women
  • 90% of HPV related anal cancers in men and women
  • 90% of genital warts in men and women

The service consists of a course of three vaccinations. One on the first visit, the second after two months and the third six months after the first appointment.

The service is offered by specially trained Boots pharmacists in selected Boots stores.

What if I have already started Boots Cervical Cancer Vaccination Service?
Who is the Boots HPV Vaccination Service suitable for?

The service may be suitable for women and men you if you:

  • Are aged 16-44
  • Aren’t pregnant
  • Haven’t had an allergic reaction to any previous vaccination
  • Feel well and don’t have a high temperature on the day of your appointment

What happens at the appointment?

1

Your pharmacist will discuss the risk factors for HPV infection and the lifestyle factors that can increase an individual’s risk. They will tell you how the course of three vaccinations will be given and discuss any side effects

2

To make sure the service is suitable you’ll be asked about any medicines you are taking and your medical history. If you have a fever on the day of your appointment, you may be asked to return when you're better

3

If the service is suitable, you’ll receive your vaccination. Our pharmacists advise that you remain in the pharmacy for 5 minutes after your vaccination, just in case you have any immediate side effects

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How long will the in-store consultation take?

The consultation will take between 20 to 30 minutes. We advise that you wear loose-fitting or short sleeved clothing for your vaccination appointment.

Price

The Boots HPV Vaccination Service is given in three separate vaccinations. You will receive the first one on your first visit, the second after two months, and the third six months after your first appointment. It will cost:


£450 if you pay for all three vaccinations up front


£155 per vaccination if you choose to pay for each vaccination individually

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What else can I do to help myself?

It is important to take precautions against sexually transmitted infections (eg by using condoms) as the HPV vaccination will not protect against every type of HPV infection, or other sexually transmitted infections. 

If you’re a woman, it’s important to note that the vaccination is not a substitution for routine cervical screening (smear tests). The NHS offers cervical screening to women between the ages of 25-64 every 3-5 years. It’s important you attend these appointments.

Giving up smoking can reduce your risk of developing many cancers. Women who smoke and have a high risk type of HPV infection are twice as likely to have pre-cancerous cells. Some studies have also shown smoking increases the risk of anal cancer.

Read more on BootsWebMD