Dr. Preeti Tandon
(Specialist Obstetrics & Gynaecology Laparoscopic & Robotic Surgeon. )

MBBS, MD(Obs/Gynae), F.MAS(Laparoscopic Surgeon), FICOG
Diploma in Adv Gynae Endoscopy (France), Certified Robotic Surgery Training (USA).

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HPV Vaccination

Currently, there are three vaccines are available for the prevention of the human papillomavirus (HPV) types that is the reason of the most cervical cancers and some cancers of the anus, vulva (area around the opening of the vagina), vagina, and oropharynx (back of throat including base of tongue and tonsils). Among these vaccines, there are two types of these vaccines which are the reasons of the prevention of HPV types that pave the way for most genital warts. HPV vaccines are given in three cycles over the time period of 6 months.

Why is the HPV vaccine important?

Genital HPV is considered a very common virus that can be passed from one person to another through direct skin-to-skin contact during the sexual activity. Most of the sexually active people can get infected with HPV at some time in their lives, however, most of them will never even know about this infection. HPV infection can be found in people in their late teens and early 20s. There are about 40 different types of HPV have discovered that can infect the genital areas of the men and women. A profusion of HPV types usually comes with no symptoms and heal by their own. But there are some types that can cause cervical cancer in women and other rare cancers - like cancers of the anus, penis, vagina, and vulva and oropharynx. Other sorts of HPV can cause warts around the areas of men and women, called genital warts. In medical history, Genital warts are not considered as the life-threatening cause. But they come with some emotional stress and their treatment can become very serious in nature.

What is the optimal age at which girls/women should receive HPV vaccination?

HPV vaccination is usually recommended between the age of 11 and 12-year-old girls. It is can also be recommended for girls and women age 13 to the 26 years of age and who have not gone through the process of vaccination or completed the vaccine series; HPV vaccine can also be given to girls at age 9 years.

Will sexually active females are also get benefitted from the vaccine?

Ideally, females should go through the vaccine cycle before they become sexually very active and susceptible to the menace of HPV. Sexually active may also get benefitted from vaccination, but they may less than in the comparison of women who are not sexually active. The reason behind it that they may have already been exposed to one or more of the HPV types. Though, few of the sexually active young women are infected with different HPV types can be prevented by the vaccines.

Can pregnant women get the vaccine?

Usually, vaccines are not recommended for the women during pregnancy. Many studies have claimed that HPV vaccines do not cause any problems for the babies born to women who are receiving vaccinated during the pregnancy, but still many studies are in the fray. So it is generally recommended that a pregnant woman should not take any doses of either HPV vaccine during the course of pregnancy.

Receiving the HPV vaccine when pregnant is cannot be a substantial reason to consider for the termination of pregnancy. If women have received one or more shots of an HPV vaccine during the course of pregnancy, then she must deny the remaining HPV vaccine doses until the course of pregnancy.

Should girls and women be examined keenly for cervical cancer before getting vaccinated?

Girls and women do not need to through any examination to get an HPV test or Pap test. Though, it is mandatory that women should be screened properly for cervical cancer, even after receiving all three of HPV vaccine. The reason behind this that these vaccines do not provide protection against any sort of cervical cancer.

How effective are these HPV Vaccines?

All HPV vaccines target the HPV types that are the reason for cervical cancer and can cause some cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus, and oropharynx. Among these vaccines, two of them also protect against the HPV types that cause most genital warts. HPV vaccines are also considered very effective in preventing the targeted HPV types and the common health problems caused by them as well.

These vaccines are less effective in preventing HPV-related disease in young women who have already have found with one or more HPV infections. The reason here is because the vaccines prevent HPV before a person found suffering with it. HPV vaccines do not treat the existing HPV infections or HPV-related diseases.

How long does vaccine protection last long?

Many researchers suggest that vaccine protection is perpetual. Current studies suggest that followed vaccinated individuals for the span of ten years, and reflect that there is no evidence of weakened protection over the time.

What does the vaccine not protect against?

These vaccines do not protect against any of the HPV types— so they will not act as the prevention of the cause of cervical cancer. Since some of the cervical cancers don’t get heal by the vaccines, so it will be important for women to continue to get examined for cervical cancer. Also, the vaccines do not prevent any other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). So it is very important for sexually active persons to lessen the high risk for other STIs in them.

Will girls and women be protected against the HPV and related diseases, even if they didn’t take any if the 3 vaccines?

It is not discovered yet how much protection girls and women receive from only one or two doses of an HPV vaccine. So it is mandatory that girls and women get all the 3 doses.

Why is HPV vaccination only recommended for women through age 26?

HPV vaccination is not highly recommended for women over the age of 26 years for some medical reasons. Many clinical observations claimed that, overall, HPV vaccination offered women some limited or no protection against HPV-related diseases. For the women above 26 years of age, the best way to prevent the cervical cancer is to get the routine cervical cancer screening.

What about vaccinating boys and men?

Gardasil and Gardasil 9 are two licensed vaccines for men. Both vaccines are very safe and highly effective for males during the age group of 9 -26 years. ACIP highly suggests a routine vaccination of boys aged between 11 or 12 years with all 3-doses of Gardasil or Gardasil 9. The optimal time to start vaccine at the age 9 years. Vaccination is recommended for males aged 13 through 21 years who have not received any vaccination or who have not received all 3 doses. The vaccine is considered effective when given at the younger ages; males aged 22 through 26 years may be vaccinated.