The most prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STI) is the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Many HPV carriers don’t show any symptoms, yet they can still spread the infection through intercourse.
It has been found that about 10% of women with HPV infection on their cervix will develop long-lasting HPV infections that put them at risk for cervical cancer.
All women are at risk for HPV infections becoming chronic and pre-cancerous lesions developing into invasive cervical cancer, even though the majority of HPV infections and pre-cancerous lesions cure spontaneously.
In women with healthy immune systems, cervical cancer takes 15 to 20 years to develop. In women with compromised immune systems, such as those with untreated HIV infection, it can happen in just 5 to 10 years.
There comes the need for vaccines that will help women keep these infections in their cervix from degenerating into cancer.
What are HPV Vaccines?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccinations are shots that protect against contracting specific strains of the virus (HPV).
There are HPV vaccinations that can defend against two, four, or nine different forms of HPV. The HPV types 16 and 18 that are most likely to cause cervical cancer are at least partially protected by all HPV vaccinations.
According to estimates, HPV vaccinations may prevent more than 90% of oropharyngeal cancers and more than 70% of cervical cancer, 80% of anal cancer, 60% of vaginal cancer, and 40% of vulvar cancer.
Along with other preventative measures, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that HPV vaccines be included in all nations’ standard immunization programs.
When do I get Vaccinated?
Depending on a person’s age and immunological condition, the vaccinations need to be administered in two or three doses.
Typically, vaccination for females between the ages of nine and thirteen is advised. At least five to ten years of protection are offered by immunizations.
Vaccinations are not advised for anybody beyond the age of 26. But after discussing their risk for developing new HPV infections and the potential advantages of vaccination with their doctor, some individuals aged 27 to 45 who have not yet received the HPV vaccine may elect to do so.
Because more persons in this age group have previously been exposed to HPV, HPV vaccination in this age range offers less benefit.
You Should get an HPV vaccination if you…
- Have ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any ingredient of an HPV vaccine, or to a previous dose of the HPV vaccine.
- Have had an allergy to yeast (Gardasil and Gardasil 9).
- Are pregnant.
- Are with a moderate or severe illness. You should wait until you are better.
Points to note…
Following immunization, cervical cancer screening is still necessary. The unvaccinated may likewise profit from the widespread vaccination of the populace.
What are the effects of the HPV vaccine?
HPV vaccines are very safe and do not create any serious side effects. People have been known to complain of pain at the site of injection occurs in about 80% of people.
Others have complained of redness and swelling at the site of the injection and fever may also occur.
Tiredness and headaches have also been reported in people who got vaccinated. Dizziness or fainting was also recorded while others complained of feeling the urge to vomit (nausea) after taking the vaccine.
Do these vaccines really work?
Yes, they really do work. Research has shown that the HPV vaccine has the power to foil more than 90% of HPV-related cancers.
HPV vaccines have also dropped the occurrence of HPV cancers and genital warts by 88% since 2006.
Pre-cancers in young women have also reduced drastically and genital warts in teenagers and young adults have gone down drastically.
Even 12 years after vaccination, people still remained immune to the virus.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)
1. How fast does one develop immunity after taking the HPV Vaccine?
After receiving the first dosage of the vaccine, it takes around two weeks for the immune system to produce an immunological response.
2. How does the HPV vaccine affect the immune system?
Many people worry about the safety and efficacy of HPV vaccinations. They do not need to as they have been proven to be okay. HPV vaccines affect the immune system by aiding in the body’s development of protection against it.
The vaccine imitates an HPV infection when it is injected into your arm, your immune system responds as if this was the real virus and makes antibodies to fight it off.
3. Why are parents worried about the vaccine?
Many parents worry about giving their children the vaccine because the vaccine is still new to them, and they worry about long-term safety. They are also concerned about side effects and believe their daughter is too young.
Some, may not believe that their daughter is at risk for an HPV-related illness such as cervical cancer.
4. How many doses of HPV vaccines is one expected to get?
Most people who start receiving the HPV vaccine between the ages of 9 and 14 receive it in a two-dose regimen (0, 6–12 months). a three-dose sequence (0, 1-2, 6 months) for immunocompromised people and those who start getting vaccines at ages 15 to 45.
It is great that we are getting the opportunity to protect ourselves and our young from these diseases that threaten to consume us all. Many people should look on the bright side and not let ignorance ad shame keep them from getting the vaccines and living a better life. Remember, great health is the greatest wealth there can ever be.
World Health Organisation, Cervical Cancer, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cervical-cancer
US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know, https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/hpv/public/index.html#:~:text=Three%20HPV%20vaccines%E2%80%949%2Dvalent,that%20cause%20most%20HPV%20cancers.
Wikipedia, HPV Vaccine, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HPV_vaccine