HPV Vaccines

Find out why women should consider availing of HPV vaccines, and why HPV testing is still recommended after 30 years of age.

The human papillomavirus or HPV is one of the leading causes of cervical cancer among women although it is considered harmless by medical professionals until it is cultured inside the body. The HPV can be transmitted through sexual intercourse, thus men can also acquire this virus strain. When left untreated, it can cause cervical cancer for women, penile and anal cancer for men, and severe genital warts for both sexes. Today, HPV tests are available for women to check the prevalence of the virus in the cervical area and to determine its potential to develop into cancer cells.

The traditional method of testing cervical cancer is through pap smear but since according to studies, it can only detect at least 55% of the cases, doctors highly recommend undergoing HPV tests for more reliable results. However, there are no HPV tests available for males since experts are still undertaking further research on how to adapt this kind of test similar to that of an anal cancer exam. Fortunately, there are available HPV vaccines for men. Those who take these tests are gays and bisexuals who have had sexual relationships with the same sex.

Available HPV Vaccines for Women

Females who are aged 21 and below can be vaccinated for anti-HPV; however, it is strongly advised to undergo the HPV test once they become 30 years old. This is because the human body reacts significantly differently when there is a sudden change in lifestyle, such as decrease in sports and activities, and it affects the immune system making the person vulnerable to various immune diseases.

There are two kinds of HPV vaccines available now in the market, though it is only for the medical use of women. Both Gardasil and Cervarix provide protection from HPV types 16 and 18 that cause almost 70% of cervical cancer among women at risk. Similarly, Gardasil is an effective protection against HPV 6 and HPV 11 that cause a majority of cases of genital warts. Thus, these two vaccines are widely used for their known efficacy in protecting the patient from cancer-inducing viruses such as HPV. In fact, the World Health Organization strongly advises women from Canada, United States, Europe, Australia and other high-risk countries to avail of these vaccines to lower the cases of late-diagnosed cervical cancer.

Contrary to contemporary belief, HPV vaccines are also available for girls as young as 9 and 11 years old. This is especially recommended if the individual is not able to complete her post natal vaccines since the chances of infections are high. There are at least 40 types of HPVs that can be transmitted through human contact and most of these are fatal especially if not addressed with proper and appropriate medical care. About 4,000 women in the United States are dying each year due to cervical cancer and 1% of this population is sexually active and show signs of severe genital warts and infections. Cervical cancer shows no symptoms at its early stage and can only be diagnosed upon its maturity. Thus, it is paramount that women should have themselves vaccinated as early as possible.