HPV Vaccine for Boys and Girls

HPV Vaccine Is For Both: Boys and Girls

HPV Vaccine Is For Both: Boys and Girls

Is HPV vaccine safe for children?

My 9 yrs. old daughter and 11 yrs. old son have been asked to take it.

Need information on HPV and its vaccine Doc.

What is HPV?
Isn't it one of the sexually transmitted disease? Then, why children who have not even attained puberty need to be vaccinated for it?
Please explain in detail!

The Expert, Ren Chats Answers

What is HPV?

HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus, which is the most common sexually transmitted infection. It is spread through all forms of sexual contact; vaginal, anal, oral sex and also in the mouth kissing.

Though I could not find a precise reference for in mouth kissing, mouth and throat warts caused by human papilloma virus are known. 80% of oropharyngeal cancers that involve base of the tongue, the tonsils and the walls of pharynx are caused by HPV. Moreover, a recent study (published in July 2013) points a strong link between HPV infections and esophageal cancer as well.

More than 150 types of human papilloma virus have been isolated, but only 40 infect humans of which 12 types cause warts and 15 types cause cancers. In most cases HPV type 6 and 11 infection result in warts; on penis in men and in women; on cervix, inside and out of vagina, on the vulva, around the anus and in mouth and throat. Whereas HPV type 16 and 18 are known cause of cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, anus and penis.

Who is at risk?

1. All those who are sexually active are at risk of contracting the infection, and 1 in 2 get the infection.

2. Boys and girls are at equal risk and irrespective of the partner’s gender.

3. 50% of new cases are noted to be among teenagers and youths below 25 yrs. of age.

4. Newborns contract the infection as they pass through the HPV infected birth canal. Consequently, they develop warts in their tiny narrow larynx that cause life threatening air passage obstruction.

Why children need to be vaccinated for a sexually transmitted disease?

HPV vaccine is recommended as a cancer preventing vaccine. Vaccines are given to build up immunity; optimally and specifically mold the body defense system before children are exposed to the offending organism. And sexual activity is common among tween and teens. It is therefore recommended to administer the vaccine to boys and girls between 9 and 11 years of age.
Is HPV vaccine safe for children?

Vaccines are licensed for public use only when proved to be safe on extensive clinical trials.

Healthcare providers, government agencies along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monitor the safety of vaccines.

Each of the two HPV vaccine available in the market, Gardasil and Cervarix, was tested on 30000 participants from all over the world. The health of the participants was closely monitored and none of them showed HPV vaccine related health problems.

Even after the vaccine is released in the market, related side effect and adverse serious reactions are documented and reported, because side effects of medications can never be totally ruled.

Side effects of HPV vaccine

Common side effects of HPV vaccine are usually mild and they pass off quickly (1 to 3 days).

• Mild pain, itching or redness at the site of needle prick.

• Headache

• Feeling of fatigue

• Muscular aches

• Fevers; maximum up to 102°F/ 39 ͦC

• Nausea

• Dizziness

• Fainting episode is common after injections, especially in pre-teens and teens.

Contraindication to HPV vaccination

• Pregnancy


i. Allergy to yeast

ii. Allergy to any component of HPV vaccine – Please read the package insert carefully and consult your Doc

iii. Allergic reaction to previous shot of HPV vaccine

Does HPV protect teenagers from all problems of physical sexual activities?

Certainly not!
No vaccine can.
Teenagers should be educated on principles of safe sex. Besides HPV, there are several other sexually transmitted diseases. Moreover, HPV vaccine itself offers protection against only 70% of cancer and 90% of genital wart producing HPV strains.

Teenage pregnancy, several health issues and psychological consequences further endanger teenagers who indulge in sexual relationships. Sexual relationships are only safe with single uninfected spouse.

Mode of administration of HPV vaccine

Series of 3 intramuscular injections of HPV vaccine are administered over 6 months.

Hope this helps!
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