Human Papilloma viruses are a group of more than 200 related viruses that can be spread through sexual contact and from infected peoples’ mucous membranes to membranes of their partners.
The viruses can also be spread through vaginal, oral or anal sex.
Statistics have it that about 20 million people in the U.S are infected and about 6 million more people get infected each year.
Due to their deadly nature, a vaccine is very important. Human Papilloma Viruses (HPV) vaccines prevent infections from Human papilloma viruses.
What is Human Papilloma Viruses vaccine?The vaccine is an inactivated version of Human Papilloma viruses that protect the body against four (4) major types of the viruses.
These comprises of two types that cause about 70 % of cervical cancer and two(2) types that cause about 90 % of genital warts.There are three HPV vaccines namely; cervarix, Gardasil and Gardasil 9.
Gardasil and Gardasil 9 can prevent the body against most cases of vulva and vaginal cancer in women as well as genital warts and anal cancer in both male and females.
It is important to note that all the three vaccines have been licensed by Food and Drug Administration because they are safe and effective
The vaccine has a long term effect though women are advised to go for cervical cancer screening because the vaccine does not protect the body against all types of HPV.
Who should take the vaccination
The vaccine is recommended for girls between the age of 11 and 12 years although doctors can vaccinate girls as young as 9.Women between 13 and 26 years old who did not get vaccinated while young can also get the vaccine.
The vaccine can also be given to boys aged between 9 and 26 years in three doses.
It can also be given to men 21 to 26 of age who have not completed the three dose series.HPV vaccination is also recommended for bisexual men and gay as well as those who have a compromised immune system including those who are HIV+, if they did not get the full vaccination when they were young
Girls should take the vaccine before their first sexual intercourse as they have not been in contact with the viruses before.Studies on the vaccine have concluded that the vaccination should not be taken by pregnant women.
Pregnant women should wait until the end of the pregnancy before taking the vaccination.
Dosage and timingHPV vaccines are given on a series of three doses.