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September 18, 2017

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A vaccine that can prevent Cancer? Here are some reasons why you should vaccinate yourself with the HPV Vaccine!

July 23, 2018

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A vaccine that can prevent Cancer? Here are some reasons why you should vaccinate yourself with the HPV Vaccine!

The Human Papilloma virus is a very common sexually transmitted infection. Despite most cases of HPV being non-life threatening and going away on their own, the cases that persist can cause life threatening cancers. 1 There are many different types of HPV viruses and therefore contracting one strain still leaves you susceptible to the various other ones. However, vaccination
can give immunity against all the strains. HPV is a serious disease and can cause a multitude of health problems depending upon the type of HPV contracted. The most common symptoms associated with low risk HPV are painful genital warts resulting in immense amount of discomfort. As for high risk HPV, about 90% of them cause cervical and anogenital cancers. 2 Gardasil 9 is a vaccine that provides protection against the deadly strains of the Human Papilloma Virus as well as some of the common genital wart strains.

 

Facts about HPV


There are 9 HPV types that contribute to the development of Cervical cancers and 2 HPV types that contribute to genital warts. Even if an individual has contracted HPV, Vaccination at the time can prevent that strain from reoccurring as well as provide immunity for the other types. The Vaccination is given in 3 doses: The first two are given 2 months apart and the last is given 6 months from the first dose. The vaccine works by injecting proteins from 9 HPV types into the body. The body then reads these proteins as being foreign and creates antibodies against them. These antibodies are then ready to fight off any type of HPV if they ever come in contact with it. The reason why Gardasil 9 is given in 3 doses is to ensure that the body has had enough time to produce these antibodies confirming complete protection against HPV. Most individuals believe that HPV is a disease that effects only women, however; despite there being a greater risk for women, men are also at risk for developing anal cancers, genital warts and cancerous lesions. Also, having men vaccinated for HPV decreases the risk of spreading it to their partners. It is an infection that can also be passed to an infant at birth resulting in a serious risk for the child.

 

Statistics show that 75% of Canadians that are sexually active are prone to contract HPV at least once in their lives. It has been found that 70% of anogenital cancers and 60% of high-risk precancerous cervical lesions can be prevented if vaccinated against HPV 16 and 18 along with HPV2, HPV4, and HPV9. In essence Gardasil 9 can prevent HPV types that cause 90% of
Cervical Cancers.

 

Why you are at risk?


HPV is an infection that is often asymptomatic which means most individuals don’t display any symptoms of them having it. 3 This combined with it being the most common sexually transferable infection makes the greater population at risk. Being sexually active entails and increased risk of contracting HPV especially if the following applies:


 Having multiple intimate partners
 Being with someone who has had multiple intimate partners
 Genital contact where warts are present
 Having a weakened immune system such as that of HIV positive individual 4

 

Therefore, any individual that is currently or will become sexually active is at risk and should be vaccinated. Gardasil 9 is ideal for women aged 9-45 and men aged 9-26 but can be given at any age above 9.


Common Misconceptions


1. Most people believe that vaccination against diseases are unnatural and that it
would weaken the immune system as the body can fight them itself.
However, this is not the case vaccination provides the body with the tools needed to fight the disease to its full extent. When not vaccinated the body does not have the antibodies made to fight an infection such as HPV. Another most common misconception is that
2. Vaccination causes the individual to contract HPV. The reality is that the proteins injected are dead and are designed for your body to recognize them and produce antibodies as a defense mechanism. Thus, HPV cannot be contracted by getting a vaccination by any means.
3. Vaccination can cause significant side effects such as developing autism, or it effects other cognitive functions. The most common side effects that occur by getting vaccinated against HPV are swelling, redness itchiness, bruising, bleeding and development of a lump where the shot was given. Nevertheless, all these side effects are common for getting any shot or vaccination and go away shortly after getting immunized.

4. HPV only affects women. This in fact is not true as HPV affects both men and women and can cause cancer in both. Both men and women can also develop genital warts and the vaccine can aid for both.

1 https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/hpv-for-boys-and-girls/index.html?s_cid=PN-NCIRD-HPV-Con-AW-CancerPrevent-Parent-3

2 https://www.gardasil9.ca/

3 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/246670.php
4 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/246670.php
https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/updated-recommendations-human-
papillomavirus-immunization-schedule-immunocompromised-populations.html

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