How Can You Avoid Getting Hpv
Sometimes people can be infected with HPV and not know it. So HPV can be difficult to avoid. The best way to avoid genital infection with HPV is abstinence. You can also decrease your chance of getting HPV by having sex with only one other person who isn’t infected with HPV. While condoms may also decrease the chance of getting HPV, they do not always work to prevent the spread of the infection. Because other than abstinence, none of these measures can completely protect someone from becoming infected or prevent the spread of this infection, the development of a vaccine was an important tool for preventing future generations from experiencing the devastation caused by HPV.
What’s The Best Way To Protect Against Hpv
Since the HPV vaccine is less beneficial in adults, the best way to prevent HPV-related cancers is to get regular screenings, says Dr. Perkins.
For cervical cancer there are two types of screening: the Pap and HPV test. Both are done by gently scraping the cervix to remove cells , according to the American Cancer Society. While similar, there are a few key differences between the test:
- Pap test: Also called a Pap smear, this test looks for changes in the cells of the cervix.People with a cervix over the age of 21 should get a Pap test every three years, per the CDC. Once you reach 65 years old, you may not need to be screened anymore.
- HPV test: This test looks for the HPV virus specifically, the CDC says. Those with a cervix over the age of 3065 should get an HPV test every five years along with a Pap test.
Early detection of cervical cancer can greatly improve someone’s prognosis, according to the ACS, which is why it’s important for adults to get screened regularly.
Meanwhile, screenings for other HPV-related cancers like anal cancer or penile cancer are not recommended for the general population. That’s because penile cancers are often detected early as it usually starts as a noticeable change in the skin. Therefore, there are no widely recommended screening tests for penile cancer, per the ACS.
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Personal Stories About Considering Getting The Hpv Vaccine
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
Getting some shots doesn’t seem like that big of a deal if it will keep me from getting genital warts. So I’m going to get the HPV shots.
Greg, age 20
I’m not going to get the shots, because I don’t plan on having sex until I’m in a long-term relationship. I don’t think I’m at much risk of getting HPV.
Jennifer, age 18.
I want to do everything I can to prevent cervical cancer, so I want to get the vaccinations.
Tracy, age 23
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How Has The Hpv Vaccination Programme Changed
In July 2018, it was announced that the HPV vaccine would be extended to boys aged 12 to 13 years in England.
This decision was based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation , the independent body that advises UK health departments on immunisation.
Since the 2019 to 2020 school year, both 12- to 13-year-old boys and girls in school Year 8 have been eligible for the HPV vaccine.
The HPV vaccination programme has been extended to prevent more boys and girls getting HPV-related cancers, such as head and neck cancers and anal and genital cancers.
A catch-up programme for older boys is not necessary as evidence suggests they’re already benefiting greatly from the indirect protection that’s built up from 10 years of the girls’ HPV vaccination programme.
How Does The Hpv Vaccine Work
Gardasil has been the HPV vaccine used in the NHS vaccination programme since 2012.
Sometime during the 2021 to 2022 academic year, the HPV vaccine used in the NHS programme will switch to Gardasil 9.
Gardasil 9 protects against 9 types of HPV: 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58. Between them, types 16 and 18 are the cause of most cervical cancers in the UK . Types 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 cause an additional 15% of cervical cancers.
These types of HPV also cause most anal cancers, and some genital and head and neck cancers.
HPV types 6 and 11 cause around 90% of genital warts, so using Gardasil 9 helps protect girls and boys against both cancer and genital warts.
HPV vaccination does not protect against other infections spread during sex, such as chlamydia, and it will not stop girls getting pregnant, so it’s still very important to practise safe sex.
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Who Should Get The Hpv Vaccine
All people ages 9 to 45 can get the HPV vaccine to protect against genital warts and/or different types of HPV that can cause cancer. Its recommended that children get the vaccine at age 11 or 12, so theyre fully protected years before they become sexually active.
But regardless of your age, talk with your nurse or doctor to find out if the HPV vaccine could benefit you.
At What Age Should People Get The Hpv Vaccine
The CDC says the HPV vaccine is recommended for children, teenagers, and adults ages 926. The earlier someone gets the vaccine, the better, says Dr. Perkins, who recommends children are vaccinated before the ages of 12 for the most protection.
“This is because younger adolescents produce very good immune responses to the vaccine, so they only need two doses to be fully protected,” says Dr. Perkins. She also points out that almost no child has been exposed to HPV at this age, and since vaccines offer prevention, not treatment, the HPV vaccine will be less effective if someone has already been exposed to the virus.
When younger children receive the vaccine, they will also need fewer doses: The CDC says children ages 914 only need two doses given six to 12 months apart. Anyone over the age of 15 or those who are immunocompromised, however, will need three total doses, given over the course of six months, to make up for a lessened immune response.
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Can Adults Older Than 26 Get The Hpv Vaccine
If you are older than 26 years old, you can still get the HPV vaccinebut there are a few caveats. First, the CDC specifically says it does not recommend HPV vaccination for everyone over the age of 26. The American Cancer Society goes a bit furtherthe organization specifically does not endorse HPV vaccination for those ages 2745.
The reasoning behind this is effectivenessspecifically the lack thereof. “People are usually exposed to HPV within a year or so of their first sexual experience,” says Dr. Perkins. That means there’s a low chance of cancer prevention from the vaccine in this age group.
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t get the vaccine if you’re over 26: “You can still get the HPV vaccine if you’ve already had HPV,” says Dr. Perkins. “While it will not be as effective against the HPV type you currently have , you may be protected against other strains.”
In that case, some doctors even recommend the HPV vaccine for their patients, up to 45 years old. Kate White, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Boston University School of Medicine is one of those doctorsshe tells Health she recommends all of her patients under the age of 45 to be vaccinated, even those in long-term monogamous relationships, just to err on the side of caution.
The CDC suggests adults ages 2745 who weren’t previously vaccinated against HPV speak with their doctor about their risk of new HPV infections, and any potential benefits they could reap from vaccination.
Who Can Have The Hpv Vaccine Through The Nhs Vaccination Programme
The 1st dose of the HPV vaccine is routinely offered to girls and boys aged 12 and 13 in school Year 8. The 2nd dose is offered 6 to 24 months after the 1st dose.
If you miss either of your HPV vaccine doses, speak to your school immunisation team or GP surgery and make an appointment to have the missed dose as soon as possible.
It’s important to have both doses of the vaccine to be fully protected.
If youre eligible and miss the HPV vaccine offered in Year 8 at school, its available for free on the NHS up until your 25th birthday for:
- girls born after 1 September 1991
- boys born after 1 September 2006
People who have the 1st dose of the HPV vaccine at 15 years of age or above will need to have 3 doses of the vaccine. This is because they do not respond as well to 2 doses as younger people do.
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What Are The Benefits Of The Hpv Vaccines
In women who have never been infected with HPV, the vaccines prevent almost 100% of cases of cervical cancer caused by the HPV types covered by the vaccines.
The HPV9 vaccine also prevents about:
- 78% of cases of anal cancers in men caused by the two main types of HPV
- 90% to 100% of cases of genital warts in men and women caused by 2 other types of HPV
Can Adults Get The Hpv Vaccine Here’s What To Knowand How To Decide If It’s Right For You
The vaccine is recommended for everyone up to 26 years oldbut what if you’ve aged out of that range?
The human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . While most cases will resolve on their own without causing health problems, others can linger, resulting in conditions like genital warts or certain types of cancerprimarily cervical cancer and anal cancer.
The good news: There’s a highly effective vaccine to prevent HPVand thus, the cancers associated with it. A new study published in the journal The Lancet in November 2021 proves as much: Researchers in the UK found that the first-generation HPV vaccine led to a “substantial reduction” in cervical cancer rates as well as incidences of precancerous findings, when given to girls and young women, specifically 1213 year olds. According to study authors, “the HPV has successfully almost eliminated cervical cancer in women born since 1, 1995.”
These findings are a big deal, and they may leave many adults wondering about their own vaccination statusnamely, if they never received the HPV vaccine as a child, are they still eligible to get vaccinated now? And would the vaccine provide any real protection? Here, we break down the current HPV recommendations, and what experts say about getting the HPV vaccine as an adult.
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Can’t I Avoid Cervical Cancer By Simply Getting Routine Pap Testing
No. At one time cervical cancer was the most common cause of cancer in the United States. One test changed that: the Papanicolaou test. The Pap test is performed by scraping cells from the opening of the cervix and examining them under the microscope to see whether they have begun to show changes consistent with the early development of cancer . Typically, the length of time from infection with HPV to development of cervical cancer is about 15-20 years. For this reason, although most HPV infections occur in teenagers and young adults, cervical cancer is more common in women in their 40s and 50s.
The Pap test is one of the most effective cancer screening tests available and has dramatically reduced the incidence of cervical cancer in the United States. But the test isn’t perfect and not all women get tested as often as they should.
On the flip side, even if you have been vaccinated against HPV, you are still recommended to get the Pap test.
What Are The Risks Of Hpv
There are more than 100 types of HPV. Some types cause cancers of the cervix, vulva, and vagina in females and cancers of the penis in males. HPV can also cause cancers of the anus and mouth/throat and genital warts in both men and women.
Every year in B.C. approximately:
- 6,000 women will develop high risk pre-cancerous changes to the cervix.
- 175 women will get cervical cancer and 50 will die from the disease.
- 110 people will develop anal cancer and 20 will die from the disease.
- 5,500 people will develop genital warts.
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Does The Hpv Vaccine Work
Yes. The HPV vaccine was originally studied in about 30,000 girls and young women between 9 and 26 years of age. Studies determined that the vaccine prevented 9 of 10 HPV infections and was completely effective at preventing persistent infections and Pap smear changes that predict cervical cancer. Subsequent studies showed that HPV vaccine prevented HPV infection, anal and genital warts, and anal cancer in men.
In Australia, where a school-based immunization program was implemented, they have seen dramatic reductions in pre-cancerous cervical changes in young women as well as genital warts in both young men and young women.
Monitoring For Possible Side Effects
Like all vaccines, even old vaccines approved many years ago, the HPV vaccines are continuously monitored for side effects. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US Food and Drug Administration review all serious side effects reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System to watch for potential safety concerns that may need further study.
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Vaccine Misinformation On Social Media
Why are more parents concerned now about vaccine safety than when it was first launched or in 2015 now that over 135 million doses have been administered in the United States? Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Duke University School of Medicine, and his colleagues .
Studies have shown that while individuals trust medical professionals for health information, a growing number are turning to the internet for first and second opinions about HPV, HPV vaccines, and HPV-associated cancer, they continued.
Unfortunately, some information about HPV vaccines and cancer found online and on social media is inaccurate. There has been a rise in negative and incorrect informationalso called misinformationabout HPV vaccines on social media in recent years, Dr. Sonawane noted. And research has shown that parents who are exposed to misinformation about HPV vaccines on social media are less likely to vaccinate their children.
Nationwide programs, such as CDCs Vaccinate with Confidence program, can help tackle vaccine misinformation and provide resources for effective communications, Dr. Sonawane said. There are also resources like smartphone apps, she added, that teach health care providers effective strategies for talking with parents about the HPV vaccine.
The Age Of People Who Are Recommended To Get The Hpv Vaccine Has Expanded What Do These Age Ranges Mean
First, its important to know that its still best for children to be vaccinated when they are about 11 or 12 years old. Thats the most important age range. Getting the vaccine before first sexual contact protects a person over their entire life.
The recommendations for Pap tests, HPV tests, and pelvic exams have been updated recently. An MSK expert explains what tests women need, at what ages.
When the vaccine was approved in 2006, anyone up to age 26 could get it. In October 2018, US health officials said anyone up to age 45 could get it. US health officials have taken a further step and now recommend that anyone up to the age of 26 man or woman get the vaccine.
If a person didnt receive the vaccine as an adolescent, as a rule of thumb, it makes the most sense to get it as early as possible, rather than waiting until later. People tend to have the most sexual partners in their twenties. Also, since HPV-associated cancers often take years to develop, you are protected longer if you get the vaccine when you are younger.
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Is There An Hpv Vaccine For Adults
The HPV vaccine is not recommended for people over the age of 26. This is because the vaccine is more likely to benefit younger people, before they have already been exposed to HPV.
However, adults between the ages of 27 and 45 can talk to their healthcare provider to learn if they could benefit from receiving the vaccine.
If it’s determined that an adult over the age of 26 could benefit from the HPV vaccine, they should follow the three-dose regimen.
Is The Hpv Vaccine Safe
Yes. Because the HPV vaccine is made using only the surface protein from the virus, it can’t cause HPV and, therefore, can’t cause cervical cancer. The vaccine may cause redness and tenderness at the site of injection. The vaccine may also cause a low-grade fever in a small number of recipients.
More than 100 million doses of HPV vaccine have been given to people in the United States, and safety networks have continued to monitor reactions to the HPV vaccine since its licensure. Despite concerns raised by the media and some citizen groups, no cause-effect links have been found between HPV vaccine and adverse events, including blood clots, allergic reactions, strokes, seizures, Guillain-Barré Syndrome , birth defects, miscarriages, infertility or premature ovarian failure, or infant/fetal deaths. While fainting episodes following HPV vaccination have been reported, the rates have not been higher than those following receipt of other vaccines for teens. Because of the possibility of fainting, teens are recommended to remain at the office for about 15 minutes after getting immunized.
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