HPV Vaccine

Facts

Page Contents

What is HPV?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common virus. There are over 100 strains worldwide. HPV can cause cancer in the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis, anus, mouth and throat. HPV can also cause genital warts. The HPV vaccine helps protect against these cancers and genital warts caused by nine types of the virus (6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58).

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How is HPV spread?

The virus spreads through intimate skin-to-skin contact.

75 per cent of Canadians will get an HPV infection at some time in their lives. Most of them do not know they are infected or that they are passing the virus on to someone else.

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What are the symptoms of HPV?

Most people infected with HPV do not develop symptoms. Cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers might not have signs or symptoms until they are advanced and hard to treat. For this reason, it is important for people to get regular health exams.

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Why should my student get this vaccine?

  1. Effective: It can prevent almost 100 per cent of certain cervical cancers. The vaccine can prevent 90 per cent of genital warts.
  2. Age appropriate: The teenage years are times when young people are more likely to try activities that increase the risk of infection. This is why it is important that youth get the vaccine before this stage.

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Who should not get this vaccine at school?

  • Students with a history of a bad reaction after getting a vaccine.
  • Students with an allergy to yeast protein.
  • These students should see their doctor for possible vaccination.

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    What if I decide not to vaccinate?

    The HPV vaccine is not required by law to attend school. However, your student could be at risk of getting warts or cancer caused by HPV if you decide not to vaccinate.

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    Risk of HPV vs. risk of vaccine

    Risk of HPV

    • 75 per centof Canadians will become infected with HPV at some point in their lives
    • Most infected people have no symptoms but can infect others.
    • More than 14,600 Ontarians have HPV-related genital warts every year.
    • Almost 1,100 Ontarians are diagnosed with HPV-related cancer each year.
    • HPV contributes to more than 250 deaths in Ontario every year.

    VS.

    Risk of vaccine

    • Sore arm in up to 90% of people.
    • Headache/tired in up to 60% of people.
    • Serious adverse event VERY rare.

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    How can I prepare my child for vaccination?

    • Talk to your student about the vaccine.
    • Complete and return the consent form.
    • Review helpful ways to deal with fear or anxiety (count to ten, look away from needle, focus on breathing).
    • Make sure your child eats on clinic day.
    • Make sure your child wears a short sleeve shirt on clinic day.

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