Human papilloma virus is better known as HPV and causes a sexually transmitted disease
There are 150 subtypes of HPV, 12 of them cause genital warts and 15 cause cancer, which canbeing of the uterine cervix, the anus or the penis.
But in 70% of cases, the subtypes involved are HPV-16 and HPV-18.
In genital warts, subtypes 6 and 11 are the most common, responsible for 90% of the cases.
Each year, about 270,000 women worldwide die from cervical cancers caused by HPV.
In Brazil, it is estimated that 15,000 new cases of cervical cancer occur annually.
All this can be prevented by a vaccine.
The HPV vaccine protects against subtypes 6, 11, 16 and 18. That is, the ones that cause the most cancer and the ones that most cause genital warts.
It is indicated for women and men between 9 and 26 years, because, although the main objective is to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer, about 40% of cases of penile and anus tumors are also due to HPV infection.
In Brazil, since the beginning of 2014, the Ministry of Health has provided the vaccine for
girls between 9 and 13 years of age.
But why only for girls between 9 and 13?
Because of the public health point of view, the incidence of cases of cancer of the penis and anus is much lower than those of the uterine cervix, and because when taken in childhood, that is, before the beginning of the sexual life, vaccination hasan efficiency of 100%.
When administered to women with an active sex life, therefore, at a higher risk of having already been exposed to HPV, efficacy drops to only 44%.
This does not mean that men or women under the age of 26 can not use the private health care system if their doctors recommend vaccination.
Having HPV is not contraindicated to take the vaccine because it will serve as prevention against
the other subtypes
But remember: vaccine does not treat existing infection, it only prevents new infections.
Even protected by the vaccine, women should continue to do routine preventive gynecological examination.
This is because the vaccine only covers the two most dangerous subtypes of HPV and because there are cases of cervical cancer not caused by HPV.
Is this vaccine safe?
Yes. In the US, for example, more than 57 million doses of vaccine were administered between 2006 and 2013, and the incidence of side effects was only 0.03%.