Updated on September 8, 2020
HPV Vaccination to Prevent Cervical Cancer
HPV vaccines protect against infection with Human Papilloma Viruses (HPV) which can spread through sexual contact. Around 14 HPV sub-types can cause cancers such as cervical, anal, penile, vulva, vagina and oropharyngeal.
How does the vaccine work?
The HPV vaccine targets the HPV sub-types which commonly cause cervical cancer (sub-types 16 & 18) and genital warts (sub-types 6 & 11). However, it cannot treat existing HPV infections if you already have the virus. HPV vaccination is recommended for females between the ages of 11 to 26 years. The vaccine stimulates the body to produce antibodies so that these antibodies bind to the HPV virus and prevent it from infecting your cells when you get infected in the future.
Click to view WHO video on HPV vaccination
What are the vaccines available?
- Cervarix (2 valents)
- Gardasil 4 (4 valents)
- Gardasil 9 (9 valents)
Ideally, vaccination should be given BEFORE you become sexually active and BEFORE any HPV infection has spread to you.
- Females below the age of 15 years should get 2 doses (rather than the previously recommended three doses). The second dose should be given 6 months after the first dose
- Females above 15 years old should have 3 doses. The second dose is at 2 months and the last dose at 6 months after the first dose
How else can I reduce my risk of getting HPV infection and cervical cancer?
- Limit the number of sexual partners
- Use condoms during intercourse
- Avoid smoking
Remember to do your woman’s health check and PAP smear regularly
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