HPV is one of the most widespread STIs in the world and the most STI in the U.S. It affects millions of people each year and it’s estimated that every person gets it at some point or another during their lives. In most cases, HPV (which stands for Human Papillomavirus, by the way) is a cutaneous infection and causes genital warts. However, there are strains that can cause cervical and oral cancer. The strains that cause genital warts do not cause cancer and vice-versa.
When it comes to the HPV vaccine, the opinions regarding its efficiency are wildly divided, especially since it caused the death of some teenage girls from the US, Europe, and UK. As usual, there are “anti-vaxxers” who are against all vaccinations in general – based on no proper evidence. Don’t be fooled by their words.
Things to Know About the HPV Vaccine
It’s Not Effective If You’re Already Infected
There are 2 HPV vaccines: Cervarix and Gardasil. These work best if administered to young people who have not been exposed to an HPV strain. This way, the jab is given to those who didn’t start their sexual lives yet. Gardasil is for both boys and girls, while Cervarix is exclusively for girls. The vaccines have an over 90% efficiency rate and their effects can last up to 10 years in a row without a second jab.
HPV Is Generally Incurable
“How can it be incurable if there’s a vaccine for it?” you may wonder. It’s simple: the vaccine inhibits the virus from transforming into cancer (you can chill, if you have HPV it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get cancer). We said that it’s “generally” incurable because it’s been proved that most people get rid of it within 2 years. Their immune systems simply destroy the virus. When the infection occurs in people with impaired immune systems, however, they may have to deal with it for life.
If it’s cutaneous, they’ll have to use Podophyllin or Podofilox, which are tinctures that are applied to warts in order to “burn” them.
Online Stories Are Largely Made-Up
The HPV vaccines have been badmouthed ever since 2007 when they were licensed. It’s true that some teenagers died after getting their shots, but it’s less likely that the HPV vaccine was the real cause of their death. Multiple studies have shown that the HPV vaccines do not pose any safety concerns. It is common to experience some pain at the site of the injection, headaches and even fainting after being given the shot, but those are the only side-effects agreed upon by specialists.
The HPV vaccine is indeed efficient, provided you haven’t contracted the virus already. And even if you did, the vaccine can protect you against other strains. If you’re under 26, you can get the jab for free. HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection in the world at the moment – if you have any reason to believe you’re already infected, talk to your doctor immediately. You might still be able to reap the benefits of the vaccine. If not, you’ll get medication that’ll help in containing the virus.