Q & A with Dr. Rani Bhat
Is HPV vaccination recommended for me?
What is HPV?
Full form of HPV is human papillomavirus. HPV is a viral infection and is generally transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You can contract HPV during your first sexual encounter or your 20th, and you can get it even if you have been monogamous and have been having sex with only one person. HPV will not cause any symptoms and they generally go away on their own. But some types of HPV can cause cervical cancer in women and can also cause cancers such as cancers of the anus, penis, vagina, and vulva and oropharynx.
Why is HPV vaccine important?
Generally, most HPV infections will clear up on their own within two years, with no long-term consequences. But sometimes, the infection does not clear up and since there is no treatment nor cure for HPV, the virus can put people at risk for potentially serious problems such as cancer and genital warts.
HPV vaccine is critical to prevent HPV infection. HPV vaccination will not only protect you but can protect the whole community. Studies have found that since the vaccination was introduced in 2006, vaccine-type HPV prevalence decreased 64% among young girls ages 14 to 19.
When should I receive HPV vaccination?
Centers for disease control and prevention recommends HPV vaccination for all girls and boys starting from 11-12 years. HPV vaccination will give better protection if taken before being sexually active.