Press Article28/02/2011

Experts call for genital warts jab

The Government should vaccinate against genital warts as part of the school-based jabs initiative, according to sexual health experts.

The South East of England has seen a sharp increase in cases of the sexually transmitted infection (STI), with a 33% rise across the region since 2000.

In 2009, Kent saw more than 400 new cases per 100,000 of the population. In the same year, Medway had the highest rate of the infection at 167.

Meanwhile figures from Medway's GUM (genito-urinary medicine) clinic revealed a 36% rise in genital warts between 2004 and 2010 - from 302 to 412 cases.

The British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) has launched a campaign calling on the Government to change the vaccine currently offered to young girls to protect against cervical cancer caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) to one that also protects against genital warts, which are caused by the same virus.

Dr Colm O'Mahoney, a BASHH spokesman and consultant in genito-urinary medicine, said: "Genital warts are incredibly common, 150,000 cases are now recorded every year and that is a massive number of cases.

"I work on the frontline in sexual health and 50% of my work load is managing and treating genital warts. It is a very distressing condition and I see many young women who find they have this ugly and disfiguring condition down below.

"It has a huge psychological impact."

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