Public Health England have published comprehensive guidance about the Human Papilloma Virus universal vaccination. The guidance is aimed at health professionals and provides information about the HPV universal programme eligibility, scheduling and vaccine administration for the adolescent programme.
Since the introduction of the girls programme for vaccination in 2008, the number of diagnoses of genital warts in England has fallen sharply in both girls and boys and there has been a reduction in the prevalence of the types of HPV that the vaccine protects against.
This suggests that boys are already benefiting significantly from the indirect protection (herd protection) that has built up from ten years of the girls programme.
The HPV vaccination programme is being extended to include boys from 12 years of age, and will help prevent more cases of HPV-related cancers in both males and females, such as head, neck and anal and genital cancers, and will also strengthen herd protection.
About HPV (source PHE)
HPV is a double-stranded DNA virus that infects the surface of the skin and mucosae (lining) of the upper respiratory and anogenital tracts.
There are over 100 types of HPV viruses of which about 40 infect the genital tract. They are classified as being either high risk or low risk depending upon their association with the development of cancer.
Types 16 and 18 are high risk and types 6 and 11 are low risk.
Types 16 and 18 account for around 80% of all cervical cancers, the remaining 20% are due to 11 other high-risk HPV types.The proportion of cancers of the anus, penis, mouth & throat, vagina and vulva which are related to a high-risk HPV infection (and which are caused by types 16 and 18) vary by cancer site.
The majority of HPV infections do not cause any symptoms and infection is usually cleared by the body’s own immune system without the need for other treatment.
- 70% of new high risk infections will clear within a year
- 90% of new infections clear within 2 years
Persistent infection with high risk HPV types such as types 16 and 18 can cause cell changes leading to lesions, warts or ano-genital cancers. These include cancer of the cervix, vulva or vagina in women, cancer of the penis in men and some cancers of the head, neck, throat or anus in either sex.
Other types of HPV such as 6 and 11 cause genital warts which is the most commonly-diagnosed viral sexually transmitted infection in the UK.
Public Health England
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PHE information on HPV virus vaccination
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About Human papilloma virus infection
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