A genital warts vaccination awareness programme has advised would-be lovers to make sure that romance is the only infectious thing on the cards this Valentine’s Day.
Statistics released by the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV to mark its vaccination programme against the preventable sexually-transmitted infection revealed that new cases have increased by a third in the past 10 years.
The campaign has revealed that £46m is spent on treating cases of genital warts - the UK’s most common viral sexually transmitted infection - each year, with a further £4m going on treatment for other rare and serious conditions caused by the infection.
A genital warts vaccine has been available for four years but is not available through the NHS, although most sexual health doctors are in favour of it being used in a school-based vaccination programme for 12 to 14 year-old girls set up the government in 2008.
HPV vaccine Cervarix is currently administered through the schools programme but it only protects girls against cervical cancer and leaves them at risk of developing genital warts. Nine out of 10 doctors admit they would tell their own daughters to ignore the NHS option and go for Gardasil, an alternative vaccine which is more expensive but protects against both conditions.
The UK chart of genital wart hotspots is topped by Hammersmith and Fulham. It is followed by Brighton, Newcastle, Liverpool, and Blackpool in the top five.
Dr Liz Foley, who conducted the research amongst clinicians, said: “The misery of genital warts could be largely eradicated if young people were given the dual-purpose HPV vaccine.”
We’re going viral! Have you friends heard about the ‘seat on the board’ petition? Let’s ensure nurses are actively involved in the new commissioning consortia.