Vaccination against HPV (human papilloma virus). What does everyone need to know?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection and can become a serious threat to human health.

More than 100 types of HPV are known. Most of them do not pose any danger and cease to be detected within 2-3 years after infection. Oncogenic types of HPV with prolonged stay in the body (persistence) can lead to precancerous lesions and cervical cancer (CRC), some types of cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus and oropharynx. The most aggressive types of HPV, which are often found in these diseases, are types 16 and 18.

The HPV vaccine specifically targets oncogenic types of HPV and also protects against some non-oncogenic types that cause most genital warts (condyloma acuminata).

The first quadrivalent (16/18, 6/11 types) HPV vaccine Gardasil, 4vHPV (Merck&Co) was announced in the US in 2006, followed by the bivalent (16/18 types) Cervarix vaccine in the UK in 2007, 2vHPV (GlaxoSmithKline). From 2011-2012 in the USA and Great Britain, a program of mass vaccination of children and adolescents was launched.

Over 10 years of observation, the prevalence of 4 types of HPV in these countries among young women under the age of 25 has decreased by more than 80%. In countries where primary prevention (vaccination) is supported by active secondary prevention (programs of mass screening of the cervix, Pap test), the incidence of cervical cancer was reduced by 22 times!

As of 2020, HPV vaccines have been included in national immunization programs in more than 100 countries. Most programs target teenage girls, but an increasing number also include boys. Since 2014, the nine-valent Gardasil vaccine, 9vHPV (types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58), has been available in the United States and some European countries.

WHO IS VACCINATION RECOMMENDED FOR?

  • Vaccination against HPV is recommended for children aged 11–12 years (minimum allowed age 9 years, maximum age 14 years) with two doses of the vaccine with an interval of 6 to 12 months.

*Children aged 9 to 14 years who received two doses of the vaccine less than 5 months apart will need a third dose.

  • Adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 26 years who have not started or completed the HPV vaccine series need three doses of HPV vaccine 0-2-6 months apart.

*Three doses are also recommended for people ages 9 to 26 with weakened immune systems.

  • Adults 27 to 45 years of age who have not yet been vaccinated may receive some benefit from HPV vaccination (three doses), even if infected.

LIMITATIONS AND CONTRAINDICATIONS

A dangerous allergic reaction to any component of the HPV vaccine or to a previous dose of the HPV vaccine is an absolute contraindication to further vaccination with this exact vaccine.

Limitations:

  • allergy to yeast (for Gardasil)
  • pregnancy
  • acute diseases with an increase in body temperature above 38°С

*Vaccines against HPV are safe for mild manifestations of ARZ with subfebrile temperature less than 38°C.

POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS

  • pain, redness or swelling at the injection site
  • fever, slight increase in body temperature
  • dizziness or fainting (more common in teenagers, so the procedure is better to perform in a sitting or lying position)
  • headache or feeling tired
  • nausea
  • minor muscle or joint pain

HOW LONG DOES THE EFFECT KEEP?

Studies have shown that the vaccine protects against HPV infection for at least 10 years, although experts expect the protection to last much longer.

IMPORTANTLY! HPV vaccination does not exempt you from regular cervical screening (Pap test) after age 25, because vaccines do not protect against all types of HPV that can cause cervical cancer.

THE MOST FREQUENT QUESTIONS

  • Is preliminary preparation necessary before vaccination?

No.

  • If there has already been HPV infection, is it possible to undergo a course of vaccination?

It is possible, but the effectiveness of vaccination is much higher at the beginning of sexual life, when the risk of infection is minimal.

  • Is cervical dysplasia (changes in the Pap test) or the presence of HPV in the analysis a contraindication for HPV vaccination?

No. There are a number of studies that show that in vaccinated women, the course and manifestations of HPV infection are easier and the virus is eliminated more quickly than in non-vaccinated women.

  • Is it possible to combine different types of vaccines?

A full cycle of vaccination should be completed with the vaccine used for the first dose.

  • Is it possible to be vaccinated with Gardasil-9 if a full course of HPV vaccination with another type of vaccine has already been completed?

So far, there are no clear recommendations regarding the expediency of such revaccination.

YOU CAN GET MORE DETAILED INFORMATION ABOUT HPV VACCINES FROM THE DOCTORS OF OUR CLINIC AND TAKE THE FULL COURSE OF HPV VACCINATION BY APPOINTMENT