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The Boots HPV Vaccination Service offers protection against nine HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) types and is suitable for adults and children aged 12 to 45 inclusive, subject to eligibility criteria.
What is HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus with over 200 types, most of which are harmless. Eight in 10 people will get a HPV infection at some point in their lives.*
In most cases, your immune system will be able to get rid of it. However, sometimes a HPV infection can persist and it can lead to certain types of cancer, as well as genital warts.
Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the HPV virus. High risk types 16 and 18 are known to be responsible for more than 80% of all cases of cervical cancer and types 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 are responsible for a further 15%.**
Genital warts are a common sexually transmitted infection.
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.**
Infection with HPV can also increase your risk of developing anal cancer and some cancers of the head and neck.
It can also increase the risk of developing cancer of the vulva and penis. However, these cancers are less common and other factors are often involved.
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 (such as by using condoms). Even if you use condoms there's 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 penetrative sex.
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:
• Having a weakened immune system, such as by taking certain medicines or by being HIV positive
In women, the risk of cervical cancer is also increased by:
• Giving birth to multiple children (seven or more)***
• Giving birth to a first child whilst under the age of 17***
• Oral contraceptive use for five years or more***
• Being under 45 years of age (cervical cancer is more common in younger people)✤
• Having a previous history of vaginal, vulval, kidney or bladder cancer✤
How can I help protect myself against HPV?
Being vaccinated against HPV offers the best protection against the virus. Ideally, this should be before becoming sexually active, as you won’t yet have come into contact with the virus. If you are sexually active, you will still benefit from the service, as the HPV vaccination will help protect against HPV infections in the future. However, it will have no effect on active infections and established or previous disease. It will also not prevent the possible development of disease if you're already infected with HPV.
HPV vaccination is routinely offered to all secondary school children aged 12-13 (11-12 in Scotland). This is typically offered in the school setting.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are also eligible for free vaccination on the NHS up to age 45 years (available at sexual health and/or HIV clinics)
About our HPV service
The Boots HPV Vaccination Service is suitable for adults and children aged 12 to 45 inclusive, subject to eligibility criteria.
Our 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 HPV related vaginal cancers
• 90-95% of HPV related anal cancers
• 90% of genital warts
The service is offered by specially trained Boots pharmacists in selected Boots stores.
The service may be suitable for you if you:
• 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
Most customers will require two doses of the vaccination. Depending on your medical history you may require 3 doses.
If you're interested in having a three-dose course of the vaccination for any other reason, speak to one of our pharmacists.
What happens at the appointment?
Your pharmacist will tell you more about the service, including how the vaccination will be given, and will give you the opportunity to ask any questions
To make sure the service is suitable you’ll be asked about any medicines you're 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
If the service is suitable, you’ll receive your vaccination. Our pharmacists advise that you remain in the pharmacy for five minutes after your vaccination, just in case you have any immediate side effects
If you choose to pay for each vaccination individually, they will each cost £170.
Save £5 per vaccination when you pay for your vaccination course upfront.
Book your first appointment now, and your next appointment in store following your first vaccination.
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It's important to take precautions against sexually transmitted infections (such as by using condoms) as the HPV vaccination will not protect against every type of HPV infection, or other sexually transmitted infections.
If you have a cervix, 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 and all people with a cervix between the ages of 25-64 every three to five years. It’s important you attend these appointments.
Giving up smoking can reduce your risk of developing many cancers. Some studies have also shown smoking increases the risk of anal and penile cancer.