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Immunisations


 

Hepatitis A

For certain high-risk groups vaccinations are available free of charge at the local sexual health (GUM) clinic. These are:

  • Men who have sex with men.
  • Intravenous drug users.
  • Sex workers.

If you are travelling to a part of the world with high rates of hepatitis A, vaccinations are available from your GP, although there may be a charge for these.

A single injection of hepatitis A vaccine in the arm will give you protection for one year.

A second booster injection at 6-12 months will protect you for up to 20 years.

Also, if you have recently been in contact with someone with hepatitis A you may be offered something called immunoglobulin to try and stop you from being infected.

Hepatitis B

For certain high-risk groups' vaccinations are available, free of charge at your local sexual health (GUM) clinic. These are:

  • Men who have sex with men.
  • Intravenous drug users.
  • Sex workers.

Three injections of hepatitis B vaccine are given over a period of 3-6 months. A blood test is then taken to check that you are immune.

You should then be immune for at least 10 years. It is important that babies of mothers with hepatitis B are immunised at birth to prevent them becoming infected.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

A vaccine against some of the more common types of HPV linked to cervical cancer (and to some extent to genital warts) is licensed in the UK. This will help protect women from cervical cancer and may be added to the standard immunisation schedule to protect young women before they become sexually active.

There is also a strong argument that the vaccine should be given to young men, too, because as well as protecting against the rarer cancers of the anus and penis, it provides a degree of protection to both sexes against genital warts which, while not life threatening, can be a source of huge misery.

 


Articles originally published by Condom Essential Wear and The BBC