5 Reasons to Get Vaccinated for HPV
The human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is a vaccine that helps to protect against the strains of HPV, which is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections and also the cause of several types of cancer. One of the cancers that HPV causes is cervical cancer, which is the fifth most common cancer among women in Singapore.
Despite the benefits to the HPV vaccine, there still are some people who are hesitant to take the vaccine or parents who may be concerned about their children receiving the vaccine. Here are five key reasons why you or your child should get vaccinated for HPV.
#1 Protecting against the HPV virus significantly reduces risk of HPV-related cancers
The HPV virus is a group of more than 200 related viruses. To date, there are around 14 types of HPV viruses that are linked to the development of cancer. With the HPV virus, infection does not lead to the development of any symptoms. For most, the HPV virus will naturally go away on its own, however if it does not and it persists, this can lead to the development of cancer.
The HPV 16 and HPV 18 are the most common strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer, other strains of HPV virus have also been found to cause vaginal or vulva cancers.
#2 The HPV vaccine is safe, highly efficacious and does not transmit the HPV virus
The HPV vaccine does not contain the HPV virus but instead it is made from proteins that resemble the external look of HPV strains. This will cause the production of antibodies in response to the vaccine, offering protection from future infections caused by high-risk HPV strains.
The efficacy of the HPV vaccine is high and there has not been any direct associations with any adverse effects with the most common side effect being pain at the injection side or other transient effects like redness or headaches.
#3 The HPV vaccine is beneficial for boys and men as well
A common misconception is that the HPV vaccine is beneficial only for girls and women. However, the HPV vaccine can protect boys and men from warts and certain cancers that can be caused by strains of HPV. Hence the recommendation from the US National Cancer Institute is for both boys and girls aged 11 or 12 years old to get their two-dose HPV vaccine shots six to 12 months apart. The same recommendation applies for females between ages of 13 to 26 and for males between 13 and 21 years of age.
#4 Vaccine is most efficacious before an individual becomes sexually active
According to the US National Cancer Institute, more than 40 types of HPV are spread through direct sexual contact. The vaccine hence is the most efficacious if it is administered fully before an individual is sexually active.
#5 HPV infections are very prevalent
According to the Singapore Cancer Society, it is estimated that eight out of 10 people will get a HPV infection at some point in their life. Almost all cervical cancer cases are linked to genital infection with HPV and HPV can cause other cancers like anal cancer, mouth cancer, throat cancer, vaginal cancer, vulvar cancers and penile cancers. There is no treatment and cure for HPV infections, the best method of protecting yourself against a HPV infection is through vaccination.
Find out more about how you can get protected against the HPV and pay and book your appointment today.