7 Facts Related to HPV Vaccine Everyone Must Be Aware About
Human Papilloma Virus or HPV is very easily transmitted through sexual activities. The virus is also responsible for certain types of cancer. Medical technology has taken a leap forward in the form of a HPV vaccine. This vaccine is expected to eradicate the cancer cases caused by the HPV in the coming years. The UK Department of Health on Vaccination recommends girls and boys to be vaccinated with HPV by the age 11 or 12, or before they become sexually active. This is expected to prevent rampant transmission of the HPV infection.
Unfortunately, a controversy exists about vaccinating young people against an STI. Parental concern is also an issue as long-term effects of this newly invented vaccine are yet to be uncovered. Many teenagers and children are not getting the vaccine because of the concerns mentioned above. This leaves them vulnerable to many ghastly medical conditions in future.
Dr Hikmat Naoum is a renowned gynaecologist in London. He suggests it is time to put all controversies behind and make sure our children are not deprived of this useful vaccine. Thus, he shares certain facts about HPV vaccine in the following paragraphs that you must be aware of.
HPV vaccine facts
It is very easy to get infected with HPV. It does not make any difference even if you have only one sexual partner and are loyal to him or her. You may even pick up the infection in your first sexual encounter. The HPV vaccine not only acts as a protecting shield for your child but also for the entire community. The vaccine saves your little one from being infected with the HPV and at the same time prevents him or her from passing it on to others.
HPV has no cure in medicine. In most cases, the infection clears up on its own within a period of 2 years. Usually, the infection leaves no long-term impact. But in a tiny proportion of cases, the infection does not clear up and such people are at a higher risk of developing cancer and genital warts. The vaccine is a more assured way to prevent cancer and genital warts in the future.
On the other hand, HPV is known to cause the following types of cancer:
- Anal cancer.
- Oropharyngeal cancer (cancer in the mouth and the throat).
- Cervical cancer.
- Vaginal cancer.
- Cancer in the vulva.
- Penile cancer or cancer in the penis.
Research confirms that vaccinating kids before they become sexually active prevents them from critical medical complications caused by HPV.
Children with a family history of cervical cancer should be vaccinated early. Children are usually vaccinated for the HPV when they turn 11. But if your family has a history of cervical cancer, make sure to vaccinate your child as early as 9. In case you do not know where to go to vaccinate your child, you should discuss the matter with your primary care doctor or paediatrician.
HPV vaccine is equally crucial for both boys and girls. Research shows that the vaccination helps preventing a number of severe health complications in men including:
- Anal cancer.
- Penile cancer.
- Genital warts.
- Oropharyngeal cancer.
Therefore, boys should never be left out from this vaccination programme. Moreover, when boys are protected from HPV contraction, girls are also being protected at the same time and vice versa.
Just like any other vaccine, the HPV vaccine too produces antibodies in your body. These antibodies help you fight against the human papilloma virus. The HPV vaccine which is injected remains in a dormant state. Thus, the vaccine will not cause HPV infection in your child. The entire vaccination programme is a 3-shot series given within a gap of 6 months. The third and final shot is pushed before the child becomes sexually active. Since the children are in their pre-teen, they possess greater immunity to respond to the vaccine.
The HPV vaccine is expected to have some mild side-effects. These include:
- Pain at the injection site.
- Mild fever.
In addition to HPV vaccination, everyone should use condoms and undergo STI screenings on regular basis. All these approaches go hand in hand to protect an individual from developing HPV. The sexually transmitted infection is mainly passed on through vaginal and anal sex. You can also be infected through oral sex or skin to skin contact with an infected person. In such cases, condom does not prove effective and this is why the vaccination programme is so important. At the same time, women above 21 should go for an annual PAP test irrespective of whether they are HPV-vaccinated. This screening also proves effective to detect HPV-related cancers early.
Dr Naoum is associated with the Gynaecology Clinic, located on Harley Street in London. The clinic is widely trusted as one of the best places for private HPV vaccine. You can bring your child to this clinic for the HPV vaccine, which stays open from 09:00 am to 09:00 pm on weekdays and from 10:00 am to 02:00 pm every Saturday. Given his extensive experience in vaccinating children with HPV, he has an important suggestion for parents.
According to him, it is crucial that you have an open-hearted conversion with your kid before taking him or her for the vaccination programme. When both parents and their children understand the importance of the HPV vaccine, the actual objective of the vaccination programme is served.