10 Things you need to know about Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and HPV Vaccinations!
1. What is HPV?
HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus.
The HPV infection is very common – approximately 75-80% of individuals will be infected with HPV in their lifetime.
HPV is transmitted through sexual contact with infected skin or genitals.
2. What are the symptoms of HPV infection?
Most people who are infected with HPV are asymptomatic.
HPV is the virus that is responsible for genital cancers such as cervical, vaginal, vulvar and anal cancer.
Read more about the symptoms of cervical cancer.
HPV is also the organism responsible for genital warts.
3. How does HPV cause cervical cancer?
HPV infects the cells of the cervix, causing inflammation and abnormal cellular changes.
In some cases, the body is capable of clearing the HPV virus. If this is unsuccessful, persistent HPV infection may result in abnormal cell changes which may result in precancer or cancer if left untreated (eg CIN).
4. How do I protect myself from HPV and cervical cancer?
In order to best protect yourself from HPV and cervical cancer, you should start having regular pap smears once you begin to have sexual intercourse.
You should also get vaccinated against HPV.
5. What is the HPV vaccine?
6. Am I fully protected against all strains of HPV after vaccination?
There are over 100 strains of HPV in existence. Unfortunately, the vaccines do not protect against all strains.
DID YOU KNOW:
Gardasil 9 provides protection against 9 major strains of HPV, which includes HPV types 6,1, which can cause up to 90% of genital warts and types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 which can cause up to 90% vulva, vaginal and cervical cancers.
Read: What is Gardasil 9- HPV vaccine
7. Do I still need to have Pap smears after HPV vaccination?
Yes! Vaccination protects against only 70% of cases of cervical cancer. You are still at risk of having cervical cancer even after completing your HIV vaccinations.
8. How is it administered?
HPV vaccines are administered as a series of 3 doses over a 6 month period.
9. What are the side effects of vaccination?
You may experience some pain or swelling at the injection site. Other side effects such as a headache, giddiness, nausea or fever are very rare with the HPV vaccine.
10. Is HPV Vaccination safe in a pregnant woman?
The HPV vaccine is an inactivated vaccine, which means that it doesn’t contain any live organisms, and so cannot cause infection.
However, HPV vaccination is not recommended in pregnancy. If a woman falls pregnant while in the middle of her vaccination course, she will be advised to suspend her vaccines until after delivery.
Thinking of getting HPV Vaccination? Speak to a doctor today.