What is the HPV vaccine?
The vaccine against HPV is the most effective means of prevention of human papillomavirus virus ( human papilloma virus ) responsible for causing genital warts and complications such as cancer cervix of the uterus and other cancers.
There are three types of vaccines available for prevention against the main virus subtypes, namely the bivalent, quadrivalent and nonavalent vaccine (not yet marketed in Brazil, expected to be launched in mid-2021).
The injection is administered intramuscularly, in the arm, and is present in the National Vaccination Calendar. The campaigns, which previously did not include boys as a target audience, are now focused on girls aged 9 to 14 and boys aged 11 to 14.
Brazil is the first country in South America and the seventh in the world to offer the HPV vaccine to boys, including them within national vaccination programs.
This change aims to try to avoid also the relevant numbers of cases of penile and rectal cancer caused by HPV.
In the case of girls, concern about cervical cancer (cervical cancer) is one of the main reasons for the vaccination campaign.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this cancer is the fourth most common in women in the world. In 2012, it is estimated that the disease was responsible for 266 thousand deaths and more than 500 thousand cases.
In Brazil, this type of cancer is the third most frequent in women. According to data from the Ministry of Health, cervical cancer is responsible for more than 5,000 fatal victims per year.
HPV is also associated with 90% of cases of anal cancer, 71% of cases of vulvar and penile cancer, and is responsible for 72% of cases of oropharyngeal cancers.
The type of vaccine offered by SUS, free of charge, is the quadrivalent vaccine. It is able to protect against the 4 most common types of HPV virus that circulate in the country.
The duration of protection offered by the vaccine is not yet a consensus, as there are ongoing studies that seek to clarify this aspect.
However, until then, it is known that the vaccine is capable of offering lasting protection, up to 10 years.
The application of the vaccine is divided into 2 to 3 doses, varying according to the age and specific condition of each person. For children and adolescents aged 9 to 14 years, the vaccine is administered by SUS.
People who have more specific conditions, such as HIV carriers , cancer patients and transplant recipients can also receive the vaccine through the National Vaccination Calendar, from 9 to 26 years old.
In private clinics, the vaccine is applied to men and women from 9 years old, as it is a phase in which the response to vaccines is very high and corresponds, in the majority, to a phase in which people have not yet had contact with the virus.
However, people who are older or who have already been infected also benefit from the vaccine, considering that there is more than one type of HPV in its formulation. Continue reading and clarify other doubts about the vaccine!
Index – in this article you will find the following information:
- What is the HPV vaccine?
- What is HPV?
- Is HPV curable?
- What is the vaccine for?
- Why should I vaccinate my child?
- How does it work?
- Types of vaccine
- How are vaccines made?
- Age and who should receive it
- Care before and after vaccination
- Side effects
- Where to take?
- How much does the HPV vaccine cost?
- Other forms of prevention
- Vaccination campaign in schools
- Common questions
HPV ( human papilloma virus in English ) is a sexually transmitted disease caused by human papilloma virus. It is responsible for infecting about 80% of sexually active people, affecting the mucous membranes of the genital, oral and anal regions.
There are more than 100 types of variations of this virus, most of which are associated with benign lesions. However, there are 12 subtypes related to serious complications, such as cancer of the cervix, oropharynx, rectal anal and penis cancer.
The 12 HPV subtypes considered carcinogenic are HPV 16,18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58 and 59. Among them, subtypes 16 and 18, together, are responsible for 70% of cervical cancer cases, 50% of high-risk precancerous lesions and 25% of low-risk cancerous lesions.
The most common form of transmission of the virus occurs during unprotected sex, and can be transmitted through oral-genital and genital-genital contact. Less common, but still possible, transmission can happen at birth or through contact with contaminated objects.
Transmission occurs through contact with mucous membranes, even when there is no penetration. Therefore, even if the use of condoms is done, it does not mean that the risk of contamination is eliminated .
Depending on the type of virus that has infected the patient, the symptoms can be different, which can cause warts in various parts of the body.
HPV can be diagnosed by a gynecologist, urologist, infectious disease, dermatologist or general practitioner.
In some cases, patients with the virus do not get the diagnosis, as it is not always that the infection manifests symptoms. In addition, the virus can be spontaneously eliminated by the body.
On the other hand, in symptomatic patients, the most common sign is warts, on the genital region or other parts of the body. In more severe cases, HPV causes genital cancers.
To diagnose these patients, some laboratory tests must be performed, such as biopsy of tissues with suspected infection, genetic PCR test , Pap smear and colposcopy (examination of the application of acid in the cervix to identify tumors).
HPV is a disease that has no clinical cure, but that has a spontaneous cure in some cases, when the patient’s immune system is able to eliminate the virus on its own.
This spontaneous cure happens when the virus is in the latency phase (inactive), where it settles in the cells and remains incubated. During this period, the virus tries to reproduce and it is at that moment that the immune system can beat it.
In addition, this disease can be treated and prevented. The main form of prevention is the vaccine.
HPV has no clinical cure, but in some cases the immune system itself is able to eliminate the virus.
This fight against the virus happens during the latency phase of HPV, which is when it is inactive or asymptomatic. When the body’s defense system manages to overcome the virus at this stage, the patient often heals without even knowing that he has been infected.
The complete eradication of the virus, when it does not happen spontaneously, is very difficult to happen.
When this spontaneous cure does not occur, the patient must continue with the treatment to alleviate the symptoms, prevent more serious complications and avoid transmission to other people. Because there is no guaranteed cure, the vaccine is indispensable.
The vaccine aims to protect people against the HPV virus, the human papillomavirus, preventing the appearance of genital warts (condyloma) caused by STD and some types of cancer, such as cancer of the cervix (most common), penis, anus and oropharynx.
In addition to being a vaccine designed to contain the transmission of a sexually transmitted disease, the HPV vaccine was developed to reduce the high numbers of cervical cancer in women, who are the main target audience.
However, vaccination is also essential for men, considering that the virus is responsible for approximately 40% of cases of penile and anal cancer.
It is always recommended as prevention, as it has no healing action when the organism is already infected. However, people who have been infected with a particular virus subtype can receive immunization to protect themselves from other types.
In addition, men and women, especially women, should continue to maintain a preventive screening routine for the types of cancers mentioned, as there are other factors that can cause these diseases. In the case of women, it is important that they undergo a Pap smear periodically.
In Brazil, the HPV vaccine has been available for free for five years by SUS, however, vaccination rates are still low.
Even with the reinforcements made annually by national vaccination campaigns, only 48.7% of girls aged 9 to 14 years were immunized.
Several factors can influence these low rates, one of which is the age of the target audience. In the case of younger children, there is a referral from the pediatrician himself, different from the HPV vaccine.
Thus, immunization in adolescents is more difficult than in children, because for this public the risk of cancer may seem a very distant reality, in addition to the possibility of being resistant to vaccination.
All of these factors have a negative impact on the protection of adolescents and adults against the virus and the serious complications that it can cause. For this reason, we have listed some main reasons for those responsible to understand the importance of vaccination for adolescents.
HPV is common
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), transmission of HPV is so common that almost all sexually active men and women will be infected with at least one subtype of the virus during their lives.
This information takes into account the virus transmission data in the USA, but in Brazil, the situation is also worrying.
According to a study by the Ministry of Health at the Hospital Moinhos de Vento, even with the vaccination campaigns, more than half of the young Brazilian population is infected with the HPV virus.
Prevents cervical cancer and other cancers
The development of the HPV vaccine is also responsible for causing a significant reduction in the number of cancer cases caused by the infection of the virus, such as cancer of the cervix, vagina, vulva, throat, anus and penis.
It is estimated that the application of vaccination, over 10 years, was also responsible for reducing the number of genital warts cases by 71%.
For parents and teenagers, perhaps, this is the main reason for seeking vaccination, as it is a safe and long-lasting method of preventing serious diseases such as cancer, which have a treatment that is much more complicated and debilitating.
It is an opportunity to prevent yourself from other diseases
Therefore, parents can take advantage of this moment to accompany teenagers so that they receive all vaccines at the same time.
It is a safe and lasting protection
In the USA, more than 100 million doses of the HPV vaccine have been distributed. In 10 years of monitoring, until then, immunization has been shown to be safe and with lasting protection.
However, like other vaccines and medications, the HPV vaccine can also cause side effects. However, the recorded effects are mild and should not be an impediment to the target audience receiving the doses.
The vaccine prevents infection caused by the main subtypes of the HPV virus, as it is able to induce the production of antibodies through the use of a pseudo-virus. It is not used as a treatment, so it should be applied according to the vaccination schedule.
It is a vaccine considered safe and with a small risk of side effects. Because it is not produced with the virus, but with a kind of copy of the HPV virus created by a fungus, it also does not offer any risk of causing an infection.
There are 3 main types of prophylactic HPV vaccines, namely, bivalent, quadrivalent and nonavalent vaccines. This type of vaccine works by stimulating an immune response in the body based on contact with virus-like particles.
Thus, it promotes the production of antibodies to be released in the genital mucosa, thus preventing infection and also preventing cervical cancer in women.
Still in development, there are also therapeutic vaccines that, unlike prophylactics, aim to treat infected people.
However, there is still no vaccine of this type that is effective and approved for use worldwide.
The number of doses is different according to the age and type of vaccine. According to the Brazilian Immunization Society (SBIm), doses should be administered as follows, considering the quadrivalent vaccine (offered by SUS):
- Boys and girls from 9 to 14 years old : 2 doses with an interval of six months (0 – 6 months);
- From 15 years old : 3 doses with an interval of one to two months after the first and six months after the first (0 – 1 to 2 – 6 months);
- People immunosuppressed by disease or some treatment, regardless of age : 3 doses with an interval of one to two months after the first and six months after the first (0 – 1 to 2 – 6 months).
The switch from 3 doses to 2 doses in adolescents aged 9 to 14 years was due to the example in the United Kingdom and other countries.
It was observed that this scheme elicited a higher immune response in healthy girls in this age group than when compared to women aged 15 to 25 who received three doses.
There is another model of vaccination scheme approved by the Ministry of Health that extends the doses of the quadrivalent vaccine to 3 doses (0 – 6 – 60 months) to reduce the risk of cervical cancer. However, this scheme is not yet widely used and is in the process of being studied.
It is important that the interval between doses is not more than 12 or 15 months, to ensure that the immune response is more effective and that the production of antibodies is higher.
However, even if it is not ideal, it is better for the adolescent to receive the second dose late to have the complete vaccination schedule, than to leave prevention aside.
People who receive the second dose less than 5 months apart should receive a third dose, as well as people who have a weakened immune system.
However, it is important to know that there are some exceptions and that these age and dose recommendations may vary. Therefore, it is essential that people seek medical advice to verify these particularities.
There are two types of prophylactic HPV vaccines available in Brazil and in other countries around the world, all of which protect against types 16 and 18, responsible for causing most cancers related to the HPV virus. The nonavalente, although approved by ANVISA, is not yet being sold and is expected to be launched only in 2021.
The bivalent vaccine is responsible for providing protection against cervical cancer. It can be applied to girls from 9 years old.
Despite protecting against subtypes 16 and 18 of the virus, the bivalent vaccine does not offer protection against genital warts caused by subtypes 6 and 11.
This vaccine, when applied until the age of 14, can be made in 2 doses and with an interval of 6 months between them. It can also be applied in 3 doses with intervals of 1 month between the first and the second and 6 months between the first and the third, in the 0-1-6 scheme.
Commercially, the bivalent vaccine is found by the name Cervarix .
The quadrivalent vaccine protects against subtypes 16 and 18, but also offers protection against subtypes 6 and 11, often responsible for the appearance of genital warts.
It can be applied to women aged 9 to 45 years and men aged 9 to 26 years, also protecting against cancer of the cervix, anus or penis.
It is the type of vaccine made available free of charge by SUS for adolescents aged 9 to 14 years of both sexes .
This vaccine is administered in 3 doses, in which the second dose is applied after 2 months and the third after 6 months of the first dose (schedule 0-2-6).
In children, only 2 doses may be necessary, due to the efficient protection effect in this age group.
The quadrivalent vaccine is marketed under the name Gardasil.
The nonavalent vaccine, approved by Anvisa in 2017, offers a broader protection against the types of HPV viruses, enabling prevention against subtypes 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58, in addition to which the quadrivalent vaccine already guaranteed protection (6 , 11, 16 and 18).
These other subtypes present in this vaccine can also cause cervical cancer. However, nonavalent is indicated to prevent cancer of the anus and genital warts.
This vaccine can be applied to girls and boys aged between 9 and 26 years, in 2 or 3 doses.
When the first application of the vaccine occurs until the age of 14, the administration of another 2 doses is indicated, the second dose being performed between 5 to 13 months after the first.
After that age, if the first vaccine is applied after the age of 15, the ideal is that the scheme of 3 doses is carried out, with intervals of 2 months for the second dose and 6 months for the third dose after the first application (0- 2-6 months).
The nonavalent vaccine is marketed under the name Gardasil 9.
The HPV vaccine is produced from a pseudo-virus, also known as VLP ( virus like particle ).
This pseudo-virus was developed from the observation of the HPV gene (main part of DNA) and the viral capsid, a species of virus cover.
Using the fungus Sacaromices cerevisiae , it was possible to build a simulation of this layer, but without the presence of any genome inside. It is precisely this “hollow” cover, so to speak, that is called the VLP.
In preliminary tests, this VLP appeared to strongly stimulate the production of antibodies in humans and as soon as the vaccine appeared.
In order for it to be marketed and tested in several laboratories, the next step in the discovery was to find the ideal amount of VLP in humans to prevent HPV, which happened later.
Each type of vaccine (bivalent, quadrivalent or nonavalent) has a VLP for each subtype.
With this imitation of the virus, the vaccine is able to safely induce the immune system to produce antibodies against HPV, since the body understands the pseudo-virus as a threat.
This technique is known and considered safe. It is used for a long time also for the production of vaccines against hepatitis B .
In this process, human cells are not used and there is also no risk that the vaccine itself will cause an infectious disease.
The vaccine is aimed at adolescents, and is indicated especially for girls aged 9 to 14 years. Vaccination campaigns prioritize this group due to the fact that it is more effective within this age group, also preceding the beginning of sexual life.
However, boys should also receive the vaccine when they are in the 11 to 14 year old age group.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Brazilian Society of Immunizations (SBIm), the following groups should be vaccinated:
- Girls within the age group of 9 to 14 years of age;
- 15-year-old girls who have already received the first dose of vaccination;
- Boys between 11 and 14 years old;
- People of both sexes, between 9 and 26 years old, who are carriers of the HIV virus, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, people who have undergone an organ or bone marrow transplant;
- Adolescents and young people who have not yet started the vaccination scheme or are incomplete with it.
However, although these recommendations exist, the vaccine can and should also be applied to people infected with the virus.
The vaccine, in infected men and women, can contribute to reducing reinfections, relapses and infections caused by different HPV subtypes.
The HPV vaccine is a simple and safe procedure, but it requires some basic care. For example, before the vaccine is applied, it is important that the professional asks the woman about the possibility of pregnancy, as this is one of the contraindications.
When the vaccine is applied without the pregnant woman knowing about the pregnancy, it is essential that there is a monitoring of possible side effects. However, normally, no medical intervention is necessary. In women who are breastfeeding, the vaccine does not prove to be a risk.
In cases of acute, moderate or severe fever , the vaccine should be postponed until the person has improved. In the face of infections such as a cold or a low fever, it is not necessary to postpone vaccination.
Patients with thrombocytopenia – a condition in which the body has a deficiency of platelets in the blood – or people who have any disorder related to blood clotting, should also be more careful when receiving the vaccine. This precaution must be taken to avoid bleeding or bruising after the injection.
In addition, patients with a history of neurological diseases, such as seizures, for example, need to undergo a medical evaluation before vaccination.
With the exception of these precautions, no further special care is required before receiving immunization.
After the vaccine, however, it is important to pay attention to the appearance of allergic reactions or any more serious symptoms, seeking guidance at the service where you received the vaccine.
The persistence of side effects for more than 24 to 72 hours should be investigated to understand whether the cause is a reaction to the vaccine or another clinical condition.
In case of pain at the application site, patients can also use cold compresses to relieve discomfort.
In certain groups the vaccine should not be applied. Are they:
The vaccine is not indicated for people who have had a severe allergic reaction to some vaccine compound at a previous dose.
It is also contraindicated for people who are allergic to yeasts, since the quadrivalent vaccine is produced in Scharomyces cerevisia, a yeast belonging to the kingdom of fungi, present in the bread and beer production process.
Pregnant women should not receive the vaccine, as there are not enough studies to conclude how safe the vaccination is for this group or for babies.
If the adolescent becomes pregnant after the start of the vaccination schedule, it is ideal that she wait until the postpartum period to receive the remaining doses.
When a pregnant woman receives a vaccination without being aware of the pregnancy, no special medical intervention is necessary, only prenatal care.
Like other vaccines, the HPV vaccine can also cause some side effects. However, in most people who receive the immunization they do not have any symptoms or show milder signs, such as mild pain in the arm that received the injection.
In addition to this pain at the site, other symptoms that the vaccine can cause are:
- Redness and swelling in the arm that received the vaccine;
- Feeling tired;
- Nausea and vomiting;
- Hives and itching;
- Joint or muscle pain.
People who received the vaccination should also be instructed to remain under observation for 15 minutes, to avoid suffering from fainting (syncope).
This syncope is a reaction that can happen after any injection is given. About 60% of cases of fainting after vaccination occur after 5 minutes of application.
In such cases, it is important that the health professional who is giving the injection be aware of signs such as anxiety , shortness of breath and excessive sweating, to prevent falls.
Patients with injection phobia should also receive greater care, as they may be more susceptible to fainting.
In rare cases, the vaccine can cause severe allergic reactions ( anaphylaxis ). In these patients, other doses of the vaccine should not be administered.
The HPV vaccine can be applied by the private and public health system. In the Unified Health System (SUS), the vaccine is available free of charge to adolescents aged 9 to 14 years of both sexes.
It is also applied to people aged 9 to 26 who have the HIV virus, patients who have undergone bone marrow transplants, cancer patients and people who have received organ transplants.
For people who want to receive immunization, but who are not within these groups, the vaccine can be applied in private vaccination clinics.
Some health plans also cover the HPV vaccine, however, as it is a vaccine provided by SUS, not all offer this option.
The price is different according to the type. In the case of bivalent or quadrivalent vaccines, the value can be between R $ 200 to R $ 300 for each dose. Thus, each patient may need to pay, on average, R $ 900 to receive the complete schedule. The nonavalent vaccine does not yet have an average price.
In private clinics, the vaccine is applied to men aged 9 to 26 years and to women aged 9 to 45 years.
The vaccine is the best way to prevent the HPV virus, however, along with this measure, other precautions must be taken to prevent infection and to prevent the virus from spreading. Some of them include:
The use of condoms, such as condoms , although it does not offer 100% effective protection against HPV, is an important way to reduce the risks of this and other sexually transmitted diseases.
It is recommended that people, even when vaccinated, maintain a preventive routine of visits to the gynecologist and urologist, so that they carry out preventive exams for the types of cancer that HPV can cause.
These tests are necessary, because in addition to the infection caused by the virus, other factors can lead to cancer of the cervix, penis and anus.
Women should be instructed to perform the Pap smear periodically, for the prevention and early diagnosis of cervical cancer.
In addition, in the face of the appearance of any genital wart or other symptoms, it is important to investigate the cause and seek treatment.
Strengthened immune system
It is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent the immune system from weakening. When the defense system is weakened, the organism becomes more fragile and the virus stronger.
Therefore, healthy eating, exercise, proper hygiene and frequent visits to the doctor are recommended measures as a way of preventing HPV.
Objects that are shared must be thoroughly cleaned to prevent transmission of the virus, such as clothing or sex toys, for example.
In 2014, the campaign was launched in schools, where the first dose was applied.
In the same year, the second dose was already transferred to health centers, where it has been administered since. Because of this change, the vaccine is unable to reach all adolescents successfully.
In countries like Australia and Chile, the HPV vaccination campaign continues to be carried out in partnership with schools. In these places, the HPV virus vaccination model are positive examples of successful campaigns.
Is the HPV vaccine mandatory for school entry?
Depending on the state in which the child resides, the vaccine against HPV and other illnesses may be mandatory.
As disclosed by the Ministry of Health, as of 2018, some states must charge the updated vaccination card during school enrollment. In the case of students with a late schedule, the school must inform the health system and guide the student and guardians to seek immunization as soon as possible.
With this measure carried out in partnership with schools and health units, it is possible to identify with greater precision where it is necessary to expand vaccination coverage, taking campaigns to schools, for example.
However, this strategy is not a way to prevent enrollment, as this is a student’s right. The change aims to ensure the prevention of all children against communicable diseases that have immunization.
Is the HPV vaccine safe?
Yes, the HPV vaccine, both administered by SUS and private units, proves to be safe and has few side effects.
The HPV vaccine is approved and considered safe by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
It has already been administered in several countries and there are still no scientific studies that can indicate serious side effects.
When it comes to school campaigns, parents who do not want their child to receive the vaccination must complete an HPV vaccination Refusal Term, which must be handed over to the student’s guardians by the school itself.
In health facilities, this authorization is not necessary. Adolescents who want to receive the vaccination need only come to the clinic with an identity document or the vaccination booklet.
Is it possible to receive the first dose in the private system and complete the scheme through the public network?
Yes, there are no impediments to that. The adolescent who started doses in private networks can receive up to two subsequent doses in the public network.
Is it necessary to have an exam before receiving the vaccine?
No examination is necessary, not even to check whether the person is already infected with the HPV virus.
Why is the vaccine indicated for boys and girls aged up to 14 years?
According to the Ministry of Health, studies carried out with patients with HPV showed that the highest incidence of infections occurs soon after the beginning of sexual life.
In addition, as shown in studies, the vaccine’s effectiveness in girls and boys at this age is greater. That’s because the immune system responds better in this age group, in just 2 doses. Therefore, in older people 3 doses are recommended to have a similar response.
However, even after this age is considered ideal, people who have not received any doses should also be vaccinated. In SUS, the campaign targets children and adolescents from 9 to 14 years old, but it is possible to take the vaccine in private clinics.
Does the vaccine offer protection against cervical cancer for women of all racial and ethnic groups?
-Yeah . The protection offered by the vaccine is high for all women, regardless of race or ethnicity.
The vaccine is designed to combat the main subtypes responsible for causing cervical cancer, such as types 16 and 18.
The three vaccines available are capable of preventing these subtypes, responsible for causing cervical cancer in 67% of white women, 68% in black women and 64% among Hispanics.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nonavalent vaccine is capable of offering protection against 7 HPV subtypes, responsible for causing cervical cancer in 80% of women of all ages. ethnic and racial groups in the USA.
Why are doses different depending on age?
The doses of the HPV vaccine can vary from 2 to 3 doses according to age, as studies show that the effectiveness of immunization is greater when the vaccine is applied in the age group of 9 to 14 years.
There is also evidence that the two doses administered in this period, with an interval of 6 months, work as well as the three doses administered to older adolescents and adults.
Therefore, after 15 years it is necessary to administer 3 doses, as there are not enough studies to show whether only 2 doses would have the same effectiveness.
Does the vaccine dispense with the need to use a condom?
No . Vaccination only protects against some subtypes of the HPV virus, but it does not prevent against other sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis , herpes and AIDS , for example. Thus, the use of condoms is essential.
Does the protection of the HPV vaccine last a lifetime?
The HPV vaccine started to be commercialized in the world only after 2007, which is considered a relatively short time to be able to say for how long the protection of the vaccine remains.
Until then, it is known that the vaccine is effective, safe and offers long-term protection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that the vaccine loses protection over time.
The information available on the duration of vaccine protection is based on data collected over 10 years of follow-up.
In order to have a more precise answer about the duration of immunization, it is necessary to wait for studies still in progress.
Can the HPV vaccine be applied simultaneously with other vaccines?
Yes, the HPV vaccine can be administered concurrently with other vaccines in the National Vaccination Calendar (PNI), as there is no evidence to show any interference in the immune response when applied in the same period.
When it is necessary to carry out this simultaneous vaccination, care such as the use of needles, syringes and different places of application should be checked.
Anyone who has been diagnosed with HPV can still receive the vaccine?
YEAH ! Vaccination can be applied to patients who have already been infected by some subtype, as it can prevent against other types of HPV.
In addition, there are studies showing that the vaccine can prevent reinfection or reactivation of the disease.
Can adults get vaccinated?
Yes, the vaccine can also be applied to adults, even if this is not the target audience. The campaigns are aimed at teenagers, as they understand that the best strategy to stop contact with the virus is to apply the vaccine before the beginning of sexual life.
In addition, studies show that the body’s production of antibodies is more efficient when the vaccine is applied to adolescents.
However, despite these factors, nothing prevents adults from receiving the vaccine as well. What must be a greater barrier is the fact that they have to go to private clinics to guarantee the doses. SUS provides the vaccine up to the age of 26 only to people who have been transplanted, who have the HIV virus or who are being treated for some type of cancer.
It is also important to note that the vaccine is not able to cure, only prevent. Therefore, if the adult has already been exposed to some virus subtype, the vaccine will not be able to change that. However, it can provide protection against the other subtypes.
Why do boys need to get vaccinated?
The HPV vaccine should be applied to men and boys so that they are protected against genital warts and types of cancer of the anus, penis, throat and mouth.
These complications are also related to infections caused by subtypes 16, 18, 6 and 11.
Although there is the idea of herd immunity, in which the immunization of girls indirectly protects boys from these diseases caused by the HPV virus, it is not something efficient in all groups, as among homosexual men, for example.
Can I get the vaccine even if I already have an active sex life?
-Yeah . Even though it is not the most recommended, the vaccine can be applied to people who have already started their sexual life.
It is not considered ideal, as someone who has an active sex life is more likely to have had contact with the virus. Taking into account that the vaccine is not able to cure the infection caused by HPV, the risk is higher in these cases.
However, it is important to receive the vaccine anyway, to prevent other subtypes, if you have already been exposed to any subtype.
Should vaccinated women continue to maintain a preventive routine of cervical cancer screening?
Yes , the vaccine does not exclude the need to perform preventive exams annually, such as Pap smears. In addition, the vaccine does not prevent all types of viruses that can cause cervical cancer.
For women who have not received immunization, this investigation is even more necessary.
The HPV vaccine, in addition to being an effective form of prevention against a sexually transmitted disease, is the main tool to combat complications such as cervical cancer and other types of cancer.
In this article, we seek to clarify the most common doubts regarding the vaccine. If you are among the groups that should receive the doses, ensure their prevention. Thanks for reading!