• Camelia Brande

HPV -how do I prevent it?

New month, new topic! We are dedicating February to a very important topic, which sometimes does not get enough attention even though it is so common. Wondering what we are talking about? Well, no other than one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, HPV.

Last week, we discovered what HPV is and what diseases it can cause.

But how can we prevent HPV?

Let’s find out!


HPV stands for Human papillomavirus and it is one of the most common dermatologic and sexually transmitted infections. Almost every sexually active person will get infected with HPV at one point during their life.


Currently, over 200 types of HPV have been discovered. Only a few are considered high risk and potentially cancerous. HPV can be classified based on its risk of developing various conditions such as genital warts or cancer:

  • High risk: 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59, 68, 73, 82

  • Probable high risk: 26, 53, 66

  • Low-risk: 6, 11, 40, 42, 43, 44, 54, 61, 70, 72, 81


Vaccines

As of now, there are 3 vaccines against HPV available. Prophylactic (preventable) HPV vaccines have been recognized as the most efficient method to prevent and control HPV, and its related diseases. Their efficacy and safety has been proven by large trials and they are recommended to both males and females.

The highest effectiveness of the vaccine is given at a younger age, when sexual activity and HPV infection prior to vaccination are less likely. Furthermore, the vaccine turns out to be efficient in women that already had an infection with HPV. Therefore, it prevents subsequent infections with other types and the development of diseases such as genital warts or HPV-related cancers.


Currently available vaccines are:

  • 2- valent Cervarix (HPV types 16 and 18)

  • 4- valent Gardasil (HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18)

  • 9- valent Gardasil (HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58)


HPV vaccine 2-valent Cervarix

  • Protects against HPV types 16 and 18, which are the most common types and responsible for cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancer

  • It does not protect against HPV diseases, acquired prior to vaccination

  • It has 92% efficacy for preventing an infection with HPV

  • Indicated for the use in females, age 9 to 25 years

  • It consists of 3 doses that are administered at 0, 1 and 6 months

  • It is necessary to follow the vaccine administration according to schedule in order to get full immunity

  • It is preferably administered in the muscle of the upper arm

  • Safety has not been established in pregnant women, therefore it is recommended to avoid pregnancy for at least 2 months after the last dose of vaccine or to receive the vaccine during pregnancy only if it is clearly needed

  • It is not approved for use in individuals over 65 years old


HPV vaccine 4-valent Gardasil

  • Protects against HPV types 16 and 18 (responsible for cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancer) and HPV types 6 and 11 (responsible for genital warts)

  • It has 92% efficacy for preventing an infection with HPV

  • Indicated for the use in females and males, age 9 to 26 years

  • It does not protect against HPV diseases, acquired prior to vaccination

  • It consists of 3 doses that are administered at 0, 2 and 6 months

  • It is necessary to follow the vaccine administration according to schedule in order to get full immunity

  • It is preferably administered in the muscle area of the upper arm or thigh

  • It is not recommended for use in pregnant women

  • It is not approved for use in individuals over 65 years old


HPV vaccine 9-valent Gardasil

  • Protects against HPV types 16 and 18 (responsible for cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancer), HPV types 6 and 11 (responsible for genital warts) and additional prevention against HPV types 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 (classified as high-risk types for developing various forms of cancers, such as head, throat and mouth cancer)

  • Indicated for the use in females and males, age 9 to 45 years

  • It has 100% efficacy for preventing an infection with HPV

  • It does not protect against HPV diseases, acquired prior to vaccination

  • It is preferably administered in the muscle area of the upper arm or thigh

  • It consists of 2 or 3 doses, its administration varies by age:

- 9 - 14 years: 0 and 6/12 months or 0, 2 and 6 months

- 15 - 45 years: 0, 2 and 6 months

  • It is necessary to follow the vaccine administration according to schedule in order to get full immunity

  • It is not recommended for use in pregnant women

  • It is not approved for use in individuals over 65 years old


Studies suggest that the 2- and 4-valent HPV vaccines could prevent around 460 000 HPV-related cases of cancer worldwide, while the 9- valent vaccine can prevent up to 570 000 HPV related cancer cases.

Regarding the prevention efficiency by sex, the 2- and 4- valent HPV vaccines can prevent 50 000 male HPV cases and 460 000 female infections, while the 9- valent HPV vaccines can prevent 55 000 male cases and 570 000 female cases of infections with HPV.

Furthermore, the 4-valent and the 9- valent HPV vaccines can additionally prevent more than 90% of genital warts cases.

These numbers are mind opening, as we can clearly see how much of an impact the HPV vaccine has. Unfortunately, HPV remains one of the most common sexually transmitted infections that can easily develop into deadly diseases, due to its low awareness. An important influence on decreasing the prevalence of HPV is increasing and spreading awareness about this STI, starting with us!


Be smart. Be (c)LIT. Fly with us!🌺🐝


Sources:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29037457/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21466509/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27539281/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17826171/

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs13669-016-0165-z

https://www.fda.gov/media/90064/download

https://www.fda.gov/media/74356/download

https://www.fda.gov/media/78013/download



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