Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can be passed through skin contact. More than 135 types of HPV have been found. Around 20-25 of these types infect the genital area.
Sexual intercourse is a common route of infection but also via skin contact and can spread to anal,vaginal or oral route from one infected person to another.
Some types cause genital warts these are growths that may appear on the vagina or vulva and can spread to nearby skin and can also grow around the anus or on the cervix. This can be treated with medication applied to the area or by surgery and the treatment depends on the location. Types known to cause cancer cervix are 6,11,16 and 18 and can also cause anal, vulval or penile cancer.
HPV will enter the cells. Infected cells may become abnormal or damaged and begin to grow differently taking several years for cervical cancer to develop. Cervical cancer screening can detect early signs of abnormal changes of the cervix and allows early treatment so that they do not become cancer.
At Our London Obs & Gynae Clinic the doctor or nurse will offer you Gardasil (French type) which protects against Type 6, 11, 16 and 18. Other is Cevarix (UK) which protects against Types 16 and 18
Gardasil is almost 95% effective in preventing cervical precancer and genital warts caused by types 6, 11, 16 and 18. The vaccines are most effective if they are given before a woman is sexually active and exposed to HPV. If a woman is already infected with one type of HPV, the vaccines will not protect against disease caused by that type. However, the vaccines can protect against the other types of HPV included in the vaccines.
Vaccines are recommended for age 15 - 46 years age group and are given in three doses over a 6 month period.
The vaccines do not protect against all types of HPV and do not give complete protection against cervical cancer or genital warts. Therefore, women who are vaccinated should still have regular cervical cancer screening.
Very rare side effects, however soreness at the injection site. Even more rare feeling tired, headache, nausea and feeling faint. These usually disappear shortly after vaccination.
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