Preventing HPV Cancers By Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know
- Facts About HPV (Human Papilloma Virus)
- Why Get Vaccinated?
- How Effective Is The Vaccine?
- How Safe Is The Vaccine?
- How Long Does The Vaccine Last For?
- How Do You Get Vaccinated And What Will It Cost?
- Why Are Males Now Included In The Vaccination Programme?
- Do You Need To Find Out If You Are Already Infected Before Having The Vaccine?
- What If You Choose Not To Vaccinate?
- Vaccination And Safer Sex Practices
- HPV Vaccine – Facts, Facts, And More Facts!
- HPV is a common virus that can cause cancers in both men and women
- Without vaccination, 80% of adults will have an HPV infection at some point in their life
- In most people the virus is harmless and causes no symptoms so you may be unaware that you have it
- It is mainly spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity
- Vaccination against HPV infection has been available for many years, and protects against HPV Cancers
The HPV Vaccine prevents human papillomavirus (HPV) types that cause several cancers, including:
- cervical cancer in females,
- vaginal and vulval cancers in females,
- anal cancer in females and males,
- throat cancer in females and males, and
- penile cancer in males.
The HPV Vaccine also prevents HPV types that cause genital warts in both females and males and will prevent most cases of genital warts.
Vaccination is not a substitute for cervical screening. This vaccine protects against most but not all HPV types that cause cervical cancer. Women should still get regular cervical screening tests.
Almost all HPV infections that cause abnormal cells and cancer can be prevented by the HPV vaccine. It is highly effective.
The vaccine is very safe and no different from other common vaccines. The most common side effect is soreness at the injection site. Millions of doses have now been given all over the world. As for all medicines and vaccines ongoing surveillance continues to monitor safety.
Completing the primary vaccination course (2 or 3 doses depending on age) is expected to offer lifelong protection.
The HPV vaccine (Gardasil 9) is licenced for use in NZ for females aged 9-45 years and males aged 9 -26 years. It is given in 2 or 3 doses depending on age.
- 2 doses: 9 – 14 years (given over 6 – 12 months)
- 3 doses: 15+ years (given over 6 months)
The vaccine is free for the following groups:
- From January 2017, girls and boys aged 9 to 26 years inclusive can receive HPV Immunisation FREE as part of the Ministry of Health’s HPV Immunisation Programme
- In 2017, Gardasil 9 will be offered to year 8 students (12 year olds), both boys and girls, in participating schools through a funded school-based vaccination programme
- For females and males aged 9-26 years who do not get vaccinated at school, Gardasil will be available free of charge through their GP or Health Care Provider
The vaccine can also be purchased:
- People outside the funded groups can pay for the vaccine
- The cost of the full 3 doses will vary but is approximately $500.00
- Your family Doctor or Primary Health Care Nurse will be able to give you more information on the cost of the vaccine. .
Research shows that HPV infection is shared during sexual activity and males are at risk of HPV anal, penile and throat cancers.
No. HPV testing is not required before vaccination.
- As HPV is common and unavoidably shared once you start having sex, if you are not vaccinated you are at risk of infection
- There is no effective screening or testing for anal, vulval, penile or throat HPV related infections or cancers, therefore vaccination of males and females, ideally before ever having sex, is highly recommended and is the most effective way of preventing HPV.
- For women, regular cervical screening will ensure early detection and treatment of HPV related abnormal cells and prevention of most cervical cancer.
In addition to HPV vaccination it is also recommended that men and women continue to protect their sexual health by:
- Limiting their number of sexual partners.
- Using a condom every time for any casual sexual encounter and with a new partner.
- Getting a sexual health check done before having sex with a new partner and after any unprotected sex. It’s simple and well worth your time.
HPV vaccination (and regular cervical screening in females) offers the best protection against HPV Cancers.
You can get this guide and others in pdf form:
- A Patient Guide: HPV in Perspective
- Cervical Smears and HPV
- HPV Vaccination under Cervical Smears
- Some Questions and Answers about HPV and Genital Warts
- Men & HPV
- HPV & Throat Cancer FAQ's
Click here if you would like to get a copy of these information booklets.