HPV Vaccination - Gardasil-9
North Vancouver Travel Clinic
What is the human papillomavirus?
Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, is an infectious agent that gets transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. There are approximately 100 strains of this virus, where 40 types can be passed through sexual contact.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that HPV is the number one sexually transmitted infection (STI). The HPV vaccine is provided for free to eligible individuals.
The transmission and predisposition to HPV
The transmission of HPV mainly depends on the strain in question; the virus could be transmitted via skin-to-skin or sexual contact.
The risk factors that increase the risk of catching this virus include immunosuppression (i.e., weakened immune system), other STIs (e.g., gonorrhea, chlamydia), long-term use of oral contraceptive drugs, smoking, and having anal cancer.
Signs and symptoms of HPV
In general, HPV does not lead to noticeable signs and symptoms. According to studies, 90% of all infected individuals heal spontaneously within two years of catching the virus.
However, if the virus doesn’t go away on its own, infected individuals are predisposed to serious health problems, including genital and throat warts.
Over time, HPV can lead to cervical cancer, anal cancer, and throat carcinoma.
Note that scientists managed to identify the strains of HPV that are most likely to cause serious disease. These strains are used today in the vaccine ( Gardasil 9 ).
How is it treated
As just mentioned, most cases of HPV heal spontaneously.
However, and to ensure your system has successfully cleared the virus, your physician might order HPV testing to eliminate serious cellular damage that could potentially lead to cancer.
On the other hand, genital wars get treated with prescription drugs, thermotherapy (i.e., heat therapy), or cryotherapy (i.e., cold therapy).
In the case of precancerous lesions, your doctor will perform a simple procedure to remove the affected tissues.
Currently, there is no approved antiviral medication to treat HPV.
Prevention of HPV
Aside from using protective measures during sexual intercourse, the Gardasil 9 vaccine prevents genital warts and cancer-causing HPV strains.
The CDC recommends that boys and girls should get vaccinated between the ages of 11 and 12.
Furthermore, individuals between the ages of 27 and 45 could get vaccinated even if they’ve never received the Gardasil 9 vaccine before.
Note that the prevention from HPV infections is extremely important to avoid cervical and anal cancer, which could risk the lives of patients.
The CDC states that HPV vaccines significantly reduced the incidence and prevalence of genital warts and cancer.
How effective is the vaccine?
According to the National Institute of Cancer, Gardasil-9 is 100% effective in preventing cervical, vulvar, and vaginal disease.
Other studies conducted by various medical teams found similar results when it comes to genital warts and cancer prevention.
Side effects of the vaccine
The commonly seen side effects of Gardasil 9 include:
Pain, swelling, redness, and itching at the site of the injection
Nausea and vomiting
The scheduling of the vaccine
The vaccine is given via 2 doses separated by at least 6 months. Women and men ages 15 to 45 can also get vaccinated on a 3-dose schedule. In B.C., Gardasil-9 is provided as part of routine school-based immunization to children. Selected individuals who have never received the vaccine as part of their routine immunization may be eligible for the publicly-funded Gardasil-9 vaccine. Please contact us at 604-971-5163 if you have any questions about the Gardasil-9 vaccine.
**The information on this website is only for general informational purposes only and may not be extensive. The information does not, and is not intended to be used to provide travel-related health advice.