Teen girls health care in Western Isles

Health visitors in the Western Isles will start immunising girls in the Western Isles again from August/September, to help protect them against the two main types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that can cause cervical cancer.

This year the campaign is focusing on girls in S2, and the programme will be delivered by the Health Visiting team in schools across the Western Isles.

Older girls under the age of 18 years are also still eligible for the programme. Those attending school can still be vaccinated in school if they have not previously been immunised or if they need to complete the course (three doses).

All girls offered the HPV vaccine will need three jabs in their upper arm over a six-month period to give them the best protection.

NHS Western Isles Public Health Practitioner Sara Bartram said: “Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer affecting women worldwide. Around 100 women in Scotland die each year from cervical cancer, with 300 cases being diagnosed annually. The HPV vaccine will help to protect girls against HPV types 16 and 18, which cause 70 per cent of all cases of cervical cancer – so this immunisation is vital in the fight to significantly reduce future cervical cancer rates in the Western Isles.”

She added: “We urge all those eligible to take up the offer and help to protect themselves from a devastating and life-threatening disease.”

The HPV vaccine does not protect against all other types of HPV, so girls will still need to start going for regular cervical screening when they are 20 years old.

Girls under the age of 18 who have left school who have not previously been vaccinated or any girls who have not completed the course should contact Sheila Macleod on 01851 703545 (Lewis and Harris) or Isabel Macinnes on 01870 602266 (Uist and Barra) for further information or to arrange an appointment with a Health Visitor for vaccination.