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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Vaccine Information

Grade 8 Girls Immunization Program
Reliable Web Sites for Information on HPV and HPV Vaccine
What is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?
HPV is a group of viruses that can cause cancer of the cervix, vagina and vulva,
as well as genital warts. Two of many high-risk types of HPV (types 16 and 18)
are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer cases.
How can someone get HPV?
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It is easily passed betwe
en people through skin-to-skin contact, usually during sexual activity. Some peo
ple with HPV infections do not have any symptoms. However, even with no symptoms
, a person can pass the infection to their sexual partner.
Who can get HPV infection?
Anyone can become infected with HPV. Most people clear HPV infections on their o
wn. However, in some people infection can persist and develop into cancer. About
70% of adults will have at least one genital HPV infection over their lifetime.
Can HPV infections be prevented?
Yes. An HPV vaccine called Gardasil, can provide protection against four of the
most common types of HPV (Types 6, 11, 16 and 18). HPV types 6 and 11 cause 90%
of genital warts. HPV types 16 and 18 cause 70% of cervical cancers. The HPV vac
cine is nearly 100% effective in preventing infection caused by these four types
of HPV.
More ways to protect yourself from HPV infections include:

Delay onset of sexual activity
Always use condoms to help reduce the transmission of HPV
Limit the number of sexual partners
Get annual Pap Tests
The HPV vaccine does not protect against all cervical cancers therefore routine
Pap tests are still recommended.
Who should get the vaccine?
The HPV vaccine is recommended for females 9 to 26 years of age. HPV vaccine is
most effective when given to females before they are exposed to HPV. It can be u
sed for women who are already sexually active, but there is no clear evidence th
at it will provide protection against HPV types that have already caused infecti
on in these women.
Beginning this fall, all grade 8 girls in Ontario will have the opportunity to r
eceive free HPV vaccine at school-based clinics.
How safe is the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccine has been shown to be very safe.
A small number of people who get this vaccine may experience some redness, pain
and swelling at the site where the needle was given. A few people may get a slig
ht fever or headache and feel unwell the following day. This is your body respon
ding to the vaccine.
Increased blood pressure, gastroenteritis, and vaginal bleeding have been report
ed very rarely.
Allergic reactions like trouble breathing, swelling of the mouth or face, hives,
a rash or seizure/convulsions are extremely rare. If these symptoms occur, seek
medical attention.
After receiving Gardasil, see your doctor if you develop symptoms that are conce
rning you and they last for more than a few days. Your doctor will decide if it
is related to the vaccine and notify the health unit as needed.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization supports giving this vaccine at
the same time as other age-appropriate vaccines, such as hepatitis B.
Who should not get the vaccine?
Students who are allergic to the components of the vaccine which include:
Polysorbate 80
Sodium borate
Anyone who has a fever the day of the appointment is advised to wait until he or
she feels better before getting the vaccine.
Pregnant women.
Studies are ongoing to support giving the vaccine to boys.
How is the vaccine given?
The HPV vaccine is given as a series of three injections into upper arm muscle.
The three doses will be given over a six month time span. In order to receive th
e vaccine for free, the series will be started in grade 8 and must be completed
by the end of grade 9.
How long does the vaccine protection last?
Recent studies have shown good protection against HPV for five years of follow-u
p. Studies are ongoing to determine if a booster dose is necessary to have conti
nued protection.
How much does Gardasil cost?
Currently, Gardasil is available for free for grade 8 girls. The vaccine is avai
lable for women ages 9-26 years of age at approximately $155 per dose.
Who do I call if I have questions?
Please call the Perth District Health Unit s Health Line at 519-271-7600 extension
267. The Toll-free number is 1-877-271-7348 extension 267
Reliable Web Sites for Information on HPV and HPV Vaccine
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
Health Canada
HPV Informational Videos from Immunize BC
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Prevention and HPV Vaccine: Questions and Answers