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HPV Vaccines

The HPV vaccine is designed to protect against the development of cervical, vaginal, vulval, anal, throat and penile cancers caused by High-Risk HPV DNA types. Our routine HPV Vaccine is the 9-Strain HPV vaccine (Nonavalent [9vHPV]) which protects against the following:

  • Low Risk types: 6 and 11
  • High Risk types: 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58

One key difference to note is that the 9-Strain HPV vaccine [9vHPV] produces 40mg/dose of the antigen that protects against type 18, whereas the 4-Strain HPV vaccine [4vHPV] produces 20mg/dose. 

There is also the 2-Strain HPV [2vHPV] Vaccine which protects against types 16 and 18 – we no longer offer this here.

HPV types vaccinated against

6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58

Dosage timeline (taken within 24 months):

Dose 1: Any time
Dose 2: 1-3 months after 1st dose
Dose 3: 6 months after 2nd dose

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Possible side effects

Local pain & headache. The vaccine is also considered safe enough to be adminstered to children.

Cost of treatment

£170/dose (total of 3 doses)

Initial consultation fee applies to new patients.

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Same day appointments

In Birmingham Clinic

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Highly confidential service

And discreetly located clinics

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Specialists in sexual health

From busy NHS clinics

Clarewell Clinics Specialist Consultation Image

How does the vaccine work?

The vaccine works in the same way as other vaccinations. It pushes the body to produce HPV antibodies, which fight off future encounters with HPV. These antibodies bind to the virus to prevent it from infecting cells.

How effective is the HPV vaccine?

HPV vaccines are amongst the most effective vaccines available today.

Before the vaccine was introduced, 40 % of women between the ages of 20-24 had high-risk types of HPV. Since it’s introduction to UK schoolchildren in 2007, there has been an 86% decrease in HPV 16 and 18 in women aged 16-21 in England.

The following table shows one of the key differences between different HPV vaccines:

When is the best time to have the HPV vaccine?

The best time for someone to receive HPV vaccine is in their early teen years. This is why HPV vaccine is being given to 12-13 years old girls and boys because:

  • This is the time before they become sexually active
  • This is when their immune system is very responsive to the HPV vaccine
  • The vaccine is most effective in the first 10 years after vaccination, which coincides with their phase of life when they are most likely to get infected.

Although HPV vaccine has the best outcomes when given before one becomes sexually active, the vaccine should offer protection at any age of life. 

  • The vaccine will protect against the types of HPV you have not yet been exposed to.
  • Vaccine also gives some degree of cross-protection to other types.
  • After age 15 years, 3 doses are needed to complete the course unlike in younger children where only 2 doses are sufficient.

I have had the 4-Strain HPV vaccine in the past. Can I also get the 9-Strain HPV vaccine?

Yes. It is worth considering a jab with 9-strain HPV vaccine which can serve as a booster as well helps in offering protection against additional 5 high risk strains of the virus.

The effect of the HPV vaccine is expected to last for 10 years, and probably for much longer although there is no clear evidence if that is the case. Currently there is no recommendation for a routine booster but a booster 10 years after the primary course of vaccination may be considered in individual cases.

Can I have the HPV vaccine if I already have HPV/Genital warts/abnormal smear or have been exposed to it?

Yes, you can still have the vaccine as this may protect you from becoming infected with other high-risk types of HPV that you have not yet encountered.

Will taking the HPV vaccine prevent me from getting warts?

The vaccine provides protection against HPV types 6 and 11, which are responsible for 90% of genital warts. Evidence suggests a reduction in diagnoses of genital warts after routinely offering the vaccine, but the vaccine itself is designed to prevent cancers, not genital warts.

Does the vaccine protect against all types of HPV?

No. Our routine vaccine protects against the following types: 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, 58. The vaccine routinely offered by the NHS protects against the following types 6,11,16 and 18.

Does the HPV vaccine cure HPV?

No. The HPV vaccine is not a cure for HPV, but a preventative measure. There is not yet a cure for HPV.

What is Clarewell Clinic’s policy on HPV vaccines?

HPV vaccines are very effective against cancer-producing strains of the virus, and should be available to all adults who are or remain at risk of acquiring the virus. Anyone above the age of 18 can receive the HPV vaccine after a clinical risk assessment, regardless of their age, gender or sexual orientation.

We recommend the 9-Strain HPV vaccines due to their much wider range of cover, and higher dose of antigenic material against type 16 strain, the commonest cancer-producing HPV type.

Do I need to still go for regular screening if I have had the HPV vaccine?

Yes. The HPV vaccine is not a replacement of regular cervical and anal cancer screening as it does not protect you against every type of HPV. The vaccine prevents approx. 75% of cervical cancer cases, but screening is still necessary to detect any other abnormalities.

The HPV vaccine is not a cure for HPV, or its related conditions.

Are there any side effects?

Side effects include local pain and headaches. This vaccine is considered safe enough to be administered to children.

Who can get the HPV vaccine in the NHS?

Over the years, the NHS has widened the criteria of who are offered the HPV vaccine.

Currently NHS offers 4-Strain HPV vaccines to:

  • School going girls in year 8 (12-13 years of age)
  • School going boys in year 8 (12-13 years of age)
  • Women upto 25 years of age as a catch-up option if they missed their vaccine during school years for whatever reason

Gay and bisexual men upto 45 years of age when they attend sexual health clinics.

HPV testing

We are a specialist clinic in Low + High Risk HPV testing for both men and women.

Cervical smear

For the detection of changes on the cervix (often invisible) that may develop into cancer.

HPV information

Read our answers to questions patients commonly ask about HPV symptoms, causes & management.

Page reviewed by Dr. Manoj Malu (Clinical Director)

Last reviewed date: 2 January 2021
Next review due: 2 January 2024

Whilst this content is written and reviewed by sexual health specialists, it is for general guidance only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your clinician.