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Vaccinations – What is available and who gets them?

Vaccinations

Unity Sexual Health offers vaccinations against certain sexually transmitted infections. These vaccinations may be offered to you in clinic if you are at increased risk. We do not routinely offer these vaccinations to all attendees at our clinics.

Hepatitis A

We sometimes offer a Hepatitis A vaccine to people who we consider to be at risk of acquiring the infection. It consists of one to two injections over six months and is an effective method of preventing Hepatitis A.

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus that infects the liver. It is easy to pass on during sex or get from contaminated food and water. Nearly everyone makes a full recovery. Hepatitis A symptoms can be so mild you may not realise you have it, but up to six weeks after infection it can cause flu-like symptoms, nausea and jaundice (yellowing of the skin).

Hepatitis A lives in faeces and can be transmitted through:

  • Food or water contaminated with faeces
  • Through oral or anal sex, when tiny amounts of faeces gets on fingers and into mouths through rimming, fingering or anal sex without condoms.

As well as vaccination, infection can be avoided through careful hygiene during and after sex. The advice is to:

  • Wash your hands after sex
  • Use protection for fingering, rimming and fisting
  • Change condoms between anal and oral sex
  • Avoid sharing sex toys

Hepatitis B Vaccine

We sometimes offer a Hepatitis B vaccine to people who we consider to be at risk of acquiring the infection. It consists of up to four injections over six to twelve months and is an effective method of preventing Hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that can damage the liver. Often it causes no obvious symptoms, but can cause a flu-like illness, diarrhoea and jaundice (yellowing of the skin). Hepatitis B can be spread:

  • By having unprotected sex with an infected person
  • Sharing injecting equipment
  • Sharing toothbrushes or razors with an infected person
  • From an infected mother to her newborn baby

People who have multiple partners or engage in drug use are more likely to contract Hepatitis B.

HPV Vaccine

The HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is a vaccine used to prevent genital warts and anal cancers which are caused by certain HPV viruses. HPV can be transmitted during sexual contact.

Currently this vaccine is only offered at Unity Sexual Health to gay or bisexual men under the age of 46. The vaccine consists of three injections over the course of a year or two years.

Unity Sexual Health are not able to provide HPV vaccinations to heterosexual men and women.

If you are at School then you will be able to get the vaccine through the National School Vaccinations programme.  This is available to all genders.

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