HPV (Human papillomavirus infection) is a viral infection usually transmitted through skin-to-skin contact between people and can be prevented with HPV vaccine. The virus is transmitted through sexual contact and typically affects an individual’s genitals, mouth, or throat.
Most sexually active individuals will get HPV at some point despite not having many sexual partners. Some instances of HPV infection may not have any negative effects. However, some types of HPV can result in the growth of genital warts as well as throat, cervix, and anus cancers.
The HPV vaccination is classified as safe and can effectively protect children and adults from HPV-related diseases. The vaccination is administered to preteens around the age of 11 or 12 to protect them against HPV before they are likely to have exposure to the virus.
HPV infections often have no symptoms, therefore an individual may not know if he/she has it. In cases where symptoms appear will vary depending on the strain of the HPV.
One of the most common symptoms caused by HPV is genital warts. However, other types of symptoms include the following:
Just like any vaccine or medication, the HPV vaccine has negative effects. The most common though mild side effects include:
Children who belong to the age bracket of 11-12 years should get two doses of the HPV vaccine, spaced 6 to 12 months apart. The vaccine can be given starting at the age of 9 years.
Children who start their HPV vaccine series on or after age 15, will need three doses spread out over 6 months.
Anyone through the age of 26 years who did not previously receive the full dose of the HVP vaccine, can still be vaccinated.
The HPV vaccine is not advised for anyone over the age of 26 years. Adults aged 27 to 45 years who had not previously received the HPV vaccine may decide to do so after discussing with their doctor about their risk of new HPV infections and the potential advantages of the vaccination. HPV vaccination of adults may not yield any benefit since more people in this age bracket have been exposed to the HVP already.