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It’s time to get your HPV vaccine

 

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HPV Prevention Week 2018

Oct 1-7

It’s time: Get your HPV vaccine

HPV vaccine is available for both genders at schools in every province and territory or from your health care providers at any age.

HPV and cancer

The scoop on HPV: HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus that you can catch through sexual activity, including oral sex and intimate skin-to-skin contact with an infected person.

You don’t have to have intercourse or sex to get HPV.

HPV is dangerous because it can cause life-threatening diseases. Some types of HPV can cause:

  • genital warts
  • cervical, penile, anal and oral cancers
  • other cancers, including vaginal and vulvar cancers

Three out of four sexually active Canadians will be infected with HPV at some point. HPV vaccination can decrease your risk. You can still benefit from vaccination even if you have already had HPV.

HPV vaccination explained

The best time to get the vaccine is before becoming sexually active. In provincial school programs, the vaccine is given as two injections at least six months apart. If you’re older than age 14, you need three doses.

If you missed getting vaccinated at school, you can still get vaccinated through your local public health department, or your family practice provider.

Tip: It’s never too late to get vaccinated, even as an adult. Talk to your health care provider about the HPV vaccine.

About the author

Dr. Nancy Durand

Dr. Nancy Durand

Dr. Nancy Durand is a gynaecologist at Sunnybrook, with a clinical and research interest in minimally invasive surgery, HPV and colposcopy.

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