ANSWERS TO SOME COMMON QUESTIONS PEOPLE HAVE ABOUT HPV AND THE HPV VACCINE
Who is eligible for free immunisation?
The HPV vaccine, GARDASIL®9, is funded for males and females aged 9 to 26 years. A charge applies for all others outside this age range.
If you are 26 then you need to start your vaccine course before your 27th birthday to be eligible for FREE immunisation (any of the two following shots that fall after your 27th birthday will still be free).
If I am older than 26 what does the vaccine cost?
The HPV vaccine costs around $190 per dose (course of three doses) but costs can vary between clinics.
THE HPV VACCINE
How does the HPV vaccine work?
The vaccine works by causing the body to produce its own protection (virus-fighting antibodies) against nine types of HPV.
How long will the HPV vaccine protect me?
The vaccine has been clinically tested and shown to be effective in helping prevent HPV cancers caused by the nine HPV types in the vaccine.
The vaccine is expected to offer long-lasting protection.
Does the HPV vaccine have any side effects?
Like any vaccine, there can be side effects. The most common are injection-site reactions like pain, swelling and redness and in some cases headache and fever.
For the most part these reactions are mild and usually improve or disappear within a few days. If you are worried by any side effects, contact your doctor.
Why do I need to get the HPV vaccine as soon as I can?
It is important to get immunised now before you come in contact with any more HPV virus types.
How is the HPV vaccine given?
The vaccine is given to you through a series of three shots in the upper arm over a 6-12 month period (in those aged 14 years and older).
HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS (HPV)
If I'm already sexually active can I still benefit from the HPV vaccine?
If you have already been involved in sexual activity you may have already come into contact with HPV. However, it is unlikely that you will have been infected with all the nine HPV types included in the HPV vaccine. So there is still a great benefit in getting immunised.
How can you tell if you have HPV?
Guys can only tell if they have developed visible signs - that is, genital warts. Otherwise, most people who have HPV do not show signs or symptoms. This means that they can pass on the virus to others without knowing it.
Girls may also know they have HPV if they have an abnormal smear test.
Do condoms stop HPV?
The HPV virus lives in certain areas of the skin that aren't always protected by condoms. So even if you are careful you can still catch the virus.
Should my partner be immunised too?
Yes, your partner should be immunised too.
HPV cancers are a danger for men and women, so if you are both protected with the HPV vaccine then you both have the best possible protection.
Should I have the HPV vaccine if I have genital warts?
Studies have shown that after treatment, the risk of genital warts reoccurring is 30%. This reoccurrence may be due to a current HPV infection or a new HPV infection.
The HPV vaccine will help protect against new infections caused by the nine types contained in the vaccine. It cannot treat or prevent infections which you have already had.
What cancers can the HPV virus cause?
Research has shown that HPV is the main cause of a number of cancers including: cervical, vaginal and anal cancers.
Sadly, a number of people undergo painful treatment or die each year from cancers caused by HPV.