As today marks the start of talkhealth’s online clinic on Sexual Health, I thought it appropriate to write about the most common form of sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the UK.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is very common. There are over 100 different types, ranging from low to high risk of causing conditions affecting the skin and mucus membranes, including skin warts, verrucas, genital warts, vaginal, vulval, cervical , anal, penile, and some oral (mouth, lip, tongue and gum) cancers.
Genital warts are the commonest form of STD.
Cervical cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in women under 35 and Approximately 8 women a day are diagnosed.
In the UK, all girls aged 12-13 are offered vaccination against HPV. The vaccine is safe and effective and only very few girls are unable to have the vaccine – those with a previous allergic reaction, or a condition called thrombocytopenia, a weakened immune system, and those who are pregnant.
In the UK girls can be vaccinated up until the age of 18. It would be possible to screen and vaccinate older women who were HPV negative.
In some countries including Australia, Austria and the United States, it is routine to offer boys the vaccination. This protects against anogenital warts and anal and oral cancers.
The Actor, Michael Douglas, is understood to have said his recent throat cancer was caused by oral sex.
The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recently stated that a programme to vaccinate men age 16-40 who have sex with men should be considered.
Should we be considering vaccinating all teenage boys?