This study is recruiting girls that were immunized with the HPV vaccine according to their provincial immunization schedule. Visit www.questhpvstudy.ca to find out if you’re eligible and to learn more about the study details.
Audra and her aunt Laura are strong believers in the HPV vaccine, for good reason: Gisel, Audra's mother and Laura's older sister, died from cervical cancer at only 38.
Three human papillamvirus (HPV) vaccines are approved for use in Canada. Two are recommended by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization: Gardasil® (HPV4) and Cervarix® (HPV2).
Both the HPV4 and HPV2 vaccine protect against infection from HPV types 16 and 18 that cause about 70% of cervical cancers, 80% of anal cancers and other cancers such as cancers of the mouth and throat, penis, vagina, and vulva. The HPV4 vaccine also protects against infection from HPV types 6 and 11 that cause about 90% of cases of genital warts.
The HPV4 vaccine is provided free to girls in grade 6. Girls and young women born in 1994 or later who missed getting the HPV4 vaccine may contact their health care provider to get immunized at no cost.
The HPV4 vaccine is also provided free to males who are at increased risk of HPV infection. This includes males:
The HPV4 vaccine is recommended, but not provided free, for the following people:
The HPV2 vaccine is recommended for girls and women 9 to 45 years of age. The HPV2 vaccine not routinely provided for free in BC.
In April 2012, BC launched a one-time free Cervarix (HPV2) vaccine program for young women born in 1991-1993. In July 2013, this program was expanded to include women 26 years of age and younger and born before 1994. As this program is nearing its completion, there is only a very limited amount of free vaccine still available in some areas of the province. If someone in this age group is interested in getting the free HPV2 vaccine, they can contact their local public health unit for information on vaccine supply in their area. For more information about this program, read the HPV (Human Papillomavirus) One-Time Vaccine Program for Young Women fact sheet.
The HPV2 vaccine is not currently approved for use in males.
The HPV vaccines are given as either 2 or 3 doses over a 6 month period. Children who are 9 to 14 years of age need 2 doses given at least 6 months apart. People 15 years of age and older need 3 doses.
Those not eligible for a free HPV vaccine can purchase it at most pharmacies and travel clinics and at some sexual health clinics. The HPV4 vaccine costs about $450 for the three doses. The HPV2 vaccine costs about $300 for the three doses. Some health insurance plans cover the cost of the vaccine.
It is best to get immunized before becoming sexually active and coming in contact with HPV; however, people who are sexually active may still benefit from the vaccines. The vaccines do not treat HPV infections.
In women who have never been infected with HPV, the HPV2 and HPV4 vaccines both prevent almost 100% of cases of cancer of the cervix caused by HPV types 16 and 18. The HPV4 vaccine also prevents almost 100% of cases of genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11.
For more information about HPV vaccines, including the benefits, possible reactions after the vaccine and who should not get the vaccine, see the HealthLinkBC File: Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccines.
For answers to frequently asked questions about the HPV vaccine, see our HPV vaccine FAQ.
For more information about HPV, see the HealthLink BC file on HPV infection.
It is important for women to get regular Pap tests once they become sexually active because the HPV vaccine protects against most but not all cancers of the cervix.
To learn more visit: BC Cancer Agency cervical cancer screening page
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