HPV vaccine: what you should know
HPV stands for human papillomavirus. It is a viral infection that can go away by itself and is known to cause genital warts or cancer.
Some medical studies have found more than 100 types of HPV in humans that can either be transmitted through sexual contact or skin-to-skin contact.
Sexually transmitted HPV can infect the genital areas such as the scrotum, penis, rectum, cervix, vagina, and vulva.
The other types of HPV lead to common warts like plantar warts on feet and hand warts.
One of the best to protect yourself from HPV is through having protected sex (for certain types) and the HPV vaccine.
The HPV Vaccine
Most cervical cancers on medical records are associated with HPV. The HPV vaccine was first recommended in 2006. Since then, genital warts and HPV cancer cases have dropped significantly. This vaccine is recommended for boys and girls between ages 11 and 12. However, it can be administered from as early as age 9.
This age is ideal because many boys and girls haven’t had any sexual contact and are, therefore, not exposed to HPV.
People already infected with HPV have lower vaccine effectiveness than those without HPV. The response to the vaccine is better at younger ages than it is at older ages.
The vaccine can also be administered to those who are sexually active but can only be protected from strains that one does not have yet. You will still need to go for the regular Pap Smear tests as the vaccine does not replace the test.
Why get the HPV vaccine?
Let’s start by answering the question of what this vaccine does in the human body. Various strains of HPV that spread through sexual activities are known to cause most cases of cervical cancer. HPV vaccination can reduce the impact of cervical cancer and other cancers associated with HPV. Therefore, getting this vaccine is very important because it can prevent cervical cancer cases later in life.
This vaccine can also be given to prevent vulva and vagina cancer. In addition, the HPV vaccine can prevent anal cancers, genital warts, and neck, head, throat, and mouth cancers in women and men.
This vaccine isn’t recommended for pregnant mothers or people who are severely or moderately ill. If one has had any life-threatening allergic reaction to a previous dose of vaccine or any component of it, they shouldn’t also get the vaccine.
What are the side effects?
Studies have shown that the vaccine is safe and the side effects are quite mild. The most reported side effect is soreness, swelling, or redness where the injection is done.
In some cases, dizziness and fainting have been reported.