We know that taking active steps to help protect themselves and their children against preventable diseases is important to our customers. Yet, despite a high awareness around the need to protect females against HPV (Human Papillomavirus), which can lead to certain types of cancer, few people know that the virus also affects males. To complement the current NHS HPV cervical cancer vaccination programme for 12-13-year-old girls in the UK** Boots UK is extending its private HPV vaccination service to men and teenage boys.
Although the need to protect against HPV is typically seen as a female issue, 4 out of 5 sexually active men and women will be infected with the virus at some point during their lives.1 With an estimated 1 in 3 people in the UK currently infectedwith HPV,2 Boots UK has joined forces with Dr Christian Jessen to help raise awareness that HPV is a male, as well as female, health issue.
Dr Christian Jessen says “Despite the vaccination traditionally being associated with preadolescent girls, vaccinating against HPV can be just as important for males as it is females. HPV is a common virus with over 100 different types, most of which are harmless, but some types of the HPV virus can lead to cervical cancer, genital warts and other associated cancers including anal, penile and head and neck in men.*** The virus is spread by intimate sexual contact with another person already carrying the virus, which is why I encourage boys and girls to get vaccinated prior to being sexually active. It’s important to always take precautions against sexually transmitted infections, and those vaccinated still need to protect themselves from the HPV types not covered by the vaccine other types of sexually transmitted infections.”
Richard Bradley, Pharmacy Director, Boots UK, comments; “We are delighted to be able to extend our HPV vaccination service, ensuring more men and boys across the UK have access to this important vaccination. This is a fantastic example of how community pharmacists can use their clinical skills to support patients’ health in locations and at times that are convenient to them.”
Peter Baker, Campaign Director at HPV Action comments; “Our primary objective as an organisation is that the NHS HPV vaccination programme should be extended to teenage boys. Without this, almost 400,000 more boys each year are being left at risk from HPV-related cancers. In the meantime, it’s important that parents and carers who want their sons to be vaccinated have the option of taking them to organisations like Boots UK”.
The Boots UK HPV vaccination service is available in 68 stores in major towns and cities across the UK. The service protects against nine HPV types including those responsible for 90% of cervical cancers and 90% of HPV related anal cancers and cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts3. The service is available to 12-14 year olds for £300 for a course of two vaccinations and for those aged 15 and over, a series of three vaccinations for £450 is available. Appointments are available 7 days a week with a specially trained pharmacist on hand to provide the vaccination and additional advice on sexual health. Subject to eligibility criteria. Charges apply.
For further information or to book and appointment online, customers can visit www.boots.com/hpv
1 Jo Trust - www.jostrust.org.uk/resources/materials/information
* Charges apply and service is subject to eligibility criteria.
**Available on the NHS to 11-12-year-old girls in Scotland.
***Please note efficacy of the vaccine used in the Boots HPV Vaccination Service against penile cancer has not been proven due to low number of cases in research studies. The vaccine is also not indicated for protection against cancers of the head and neck.