HPV is the Human Papilloma Virus and there are more than 100 subtypes. It can infect both males and females and has the potential to cause serious disease including cancer. The low risk subtypes of HPV cause common infections like viral warts and genital warts. The high risk (oncogenic subtypes) are responsible for responsible for cervical, anal, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.
It is estimated that one in ten women in Singapore have HPV infection, and one in twenty carry the high risk subtypes. HPV typically has no visible signs or symptoms, so males and females carrying HPV may spread it to others without knowing it. 50% of new HPV infections occur in those aged 15-24 years of age, and for most, HPV will clear on its own. But, for others who don’t clear the virus, HPV could cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in females and anal cancer in both males and females. And there’s no way to predict who will or won’t clear the virus.
In Singapore, the HPV vaccine is licensed for males and females aged 9-26. The earlier you get the vaccination, the more likely you are to benefit from protection against HPV. This is especially so if you receive the vaccine before you are sexually active.
However, you may still receive and benefit from vaccination if you are age 26 and above. Your dermatologist will advise you on the benefits on getting the vaccination if you are aged 26 and above.
The latest HPV vaccine Gardasil-9 is currently offered at the clinic. It provides coverage against 90% of the genital wart subtypes and 90% of cervical and vulval cancer subtypes. It also provides coverage for 80-85% of anal cancer subtypes.
The HPV Vaccine (Gardasil-9) is given as two doses in those aged 9-14; with the second dose given 6-12 months after the first shot.
In those aged above 14 years, Gardasil-9 is given in 3 doses, with the second dose 2 months after the first shot and the last dose 6 months after the first shot.
Yes! The most common side effects are pain or swelling where the injection is given. Very rarely will you have a mild headache or run a low grade fever.