Human papilloma virus (HPV)

HPV infection is caused by a large group of viruses and affects the skin and the mucous membranes. Infections of the genital area are common and highly contagious, and can cause genital warts and cervical cancer.
  • Symptoms Most people infected with HPV have no symptoms and many never develop any health problems as a result of the virus. Others may be found to have the infection if genital warts or verrucas develop, or through screening - such as a cervical smear test. It can take many years for cervical cancer to develop in a healthy individual.
  • How do you catch Human papilloma virus (HPV)? Most cases are spread through sexual intercourse and skin to skin contact of the genital areas. As an infected person may have no symptoms, it can be impossible to know when the infection was caught.
  • Incubation period It is impossible to state an exact incubation period for HPV as symptoms, such as genital warts, may take months or years to develop.
  • Diagnosis HPV infection is usually discovered through investigation of a related illness (e.g. genital warts) or through a smear test. There is no blood test for HPV.

Prevention

Sexually active individuals can lower the risk of catching HPV by using a condom, however due to the risk of transmission from skin to skin contact, this may not provide full protection.

Treatment

There is no treatment for the virus itself but warts, verrucas or HPV related cancers can be treated if diagnosed early. Women are advised to attend for routine cervical screening in order to detect any precancerous cells early. There is no reliable test for HPV in men at the current time.

Vaccination options

Vaccination is available for both males and females.

Level of protection: varying level of protection against 9 types of HPV, but has no effect against active HPV infection or any disease already present

Protection duration: The need for a booster dose has not been established

How is it given: Course of 2 or 3 injections, depending on age

£155.00 Pricing shown is per dose

  • There are more than 100 types of HPV.
  • More than 99% of cases of cervical cancer occur in women previously infected with HPV.
  • HPV can cause other cancers as well as cervical cancer, e.g. cancer of the vulva, vagina and anus.
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