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Not many know that most cervical cancers have one cause: the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted infection. That’s exactly why immunisation is critical in large numbers to reduce its incidence. In her recent post, Dr Niveditha Manokaran, also known as dr_nive_untaboos on Instagram, has called the vaccine “a game changer in the acquisition of many cancers caused by HPV.”
So, are you ready to find out all about the HPV vaccine?
It is important to remember that various strains of the HPV are transmitted through sexual contact, and hence are associated with cervical cancer. What’s more, this vaccine is helpful to prevent vaginal and vulvar cancer in women, and at the same time, provides protection against anal cancer too. We are mostly aware that women must be vaccinated against this virus, but men should also be, considering they pass on the virus too. This way, the transmission reduces in a huge way. That’s not all – in certain cases, it also offers protection against throat and mouth cancers.
This is largely important for girls and boys, who fall in the age bracket of 11 or 12. It is important that girls get vaccinated before they have sexual contact. Once someone is infected by HPV, the vaccine might not have as much efficacy. Also, even though getting vaccinated at an older age is possible, it works best when given at a younger age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all 11 and 12-year-olds must receive two doses of HPV vaccine at least six months apart.
Do not get vaccinated if you are pregnant or even moderately ill. Also, make sure you let your doctor know in case you are allergic to yeast or latex. Go through the ingredients of the vaccine and check if you are allergic to any component. It is better to be safe than sorry!
Yes, you can. Even if you have had one strain of HPV, don’t worry. You can still benefit from the vaccine, since it can protect you from other strains. But it’s essential to remember that the vaccine will not cure any existing HPV infection.