“Be Brave , Ask Questions “
When my doctor first told me about the HPV vaccine, the vaccine used to prevent Cervical Cancer, I dismissed it. I did not know anyone who had used it. In my mind, I thought this was a new vaccination and who knew what side effects it would have. I thought so many people survive without the vaccine so can I. I was 21. At 24, my doctor told me again and I again put it off.
One day I was browsing my facebook account when I came across a post about a friend of mine who was diagnosed with pre-cancerous cells of cervical cancer and all she wrote on her status was – “Wish I had taken HPV vaccine earlier”. She was just 27.
Fortunately she was later cured of those pre-cancerous cells and she immediately took the HPV Vaccine. This got me thinking and I did my homework. I finally took the vaccine at 26 – 5 years of ignorance, a period where anything could have happened.
Even the chicken pox vaccine was new at one point too but people took it and today it is so common. I guess it was just the word “cancer” that scared me initially and also the fact that no one around me spoke about it or had any idea of it. And this is the reason I put this post up so that others do not waste time the way I did. Time waits for none and all we can do is to make the best out of it and take our health in our hand.
Few things that you should know about the HPV vaccine
Why get the Vaccine ?
Genital human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. More than half of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives.
Most HPV infections don’t cause any symptoms, and go away on their own. But HPV can cause cervical cancer in women. Cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women around the world. HPV is also associated with several less common cancers, such as vaginal and vulvar cancers in women, and anal and oropharyngeal (back of the throat, including base of tongue and tonsils) cancers in both men and women. HPV can also cause genital warts and warts in the throat.
There is no cure for HPV infection.
HPV vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer in females, if it is given before exposure to the virus. In addition, it can prevent vaginal and vulvar cancer in females, and genital warts and anal cancer in both males and females.
Which Vaccine should I Choose ?
Two cervical cancer vaccines have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the U.S. — Gardasil and Cervarix.
1.Gardasil-For Women 16-26 years :It is one of the most highly used HPV Vaccine. It prevents HPV type 6, 11, 16 and 18.HPV types 16 and 18 cause an estimated 70% of cancers, and are responsible for most HPV-induced anal,vulvar,vaginal and penile cancer cases. This also helps to prevent genital warts .The FDA recommends vaccination before adolescence and potential sexual activity. Gardasil is also effective in males, providing protection against genital warts and anal cancer and some potentially pre-cancerous lesions caused by some HPV types.
Dosage: Three doses. Second dose is 2 months after the first and third dose is 6 months after the first
2.Cervarix –For women between 10-25 years: Cervarix is designed to prevent infection from HPV types 16 and 18, that cause about 70% of cervical cancer cases. Dosage: three doses. Second dose is given one month after the first and third dose is given 6 months after the first.
Gardasil vs. Cervarix: When choosing between the two vaccines, it’s important to consider your preference. Gardasil offers the most protection for HPV (types 6, 11, 16, and 18). It is FDA-approved for both males and females between the ages of 9 and 26. Cervarix, on the other hand, only offers protection against types 16 and 18. Unlike Gardasil, Cervarix is only FDA-approved for females between the ages of 10 and 25.Cervarix only offers protection against cancer, while Gardasil protects the body from both cancer and genital warts.
It’s also important to consider which vaccine offers the best protection from cervical cancer. Cervarix is the more effective option because it provides immunity against HPV for 6.4 years, while Gardasil is only effective for five years. Cervarix is generally considered the best option for cervical cancer prevention because it provides immunity for the longest amount of time while Gardasil has multiple benefits. Talk to you doctor to decide what suits you most
There are currently no known significant side effects:
- Protection from HPV vaccine is expected to be long lasting. But vaccination is not a substitute for cervical cancer screening. Women should still get regular Pap tests.
- Certain people should not get the HPV vaccine or should wait before getting it:
- Anyone who has had a life-threatenin allergic reaction to a previous dose of the HPV vaccine
- Anyone who has had a previous life-threatening allergic reaction to an ingredient in the HPV vaccine
- Pregnant women- The HPV vaccine is not known to be harmful to pregnant women or their babies. However, until more information is known, pregnant women are advised not to receive the HPV vaccine. Women who are breastfeeding can safely receive the HPV vaccine.
- The HPV vaccine’s safety and effectiveness have not yet been studied in adults older than age 26. Until that information is available, the HPV vaccine is not recommended for adults older than 26.
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