HPV Screening Test and HPV Vaccine
HPV is a virus whose relationship with the cervical cancer has been proven.
What is Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)?
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a virus that can cause skin warts, genital warts, and some cancer types. There are numerous HPV types. Different types may cause different health problems.
How is HPV transmitted?
It is transmitted through sexual intercourse. You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is spread mostly during vaginal or anal sex.
Does HPV cause health problems?
In most cases, HPV goes away on its own and does not cause any health problems. However, non-healing HPV infection can cause the health problems like genital warts or cancer for 10 to 20 percent of women.
What are the risks of HPV infection?
- HPV infection of the genitals may cause cervical or vaginal cancers in women and penile cancer in men.
- It may cause genital warts in women and men.
- It may cause anal cancer in women and men.
- It may cause mouth and throat cancer in women and men.
These problems generally emerge years after the first infection of the individual.
How can I prevent HPV and the health problems it may cause?
When the HPV vaccine is applied to the suggested age groups, it provides a considerable protection against the diseases caused by HPV (cancers included). Although condom does not provide full protection against HPV, it decreases the probability of sexual transmission of infection. The safest method to reduce the probability of HPV-induced cancer is to get HPV vaccine.
Who should be vaccinated?
HPV vaccination is suggested for women between the ages of 9 and 26 in our country without the HPV test requirement. Besides, it has been shown that it has the same effect when applied to women up to 43 years of age. Vaccination is not affected by the factors whether the women are married or single, have had any previous sexual experience, have had multiple partners. Effectiveness of the vaccine decreases with aging and increase in the number of sex partners. In some countries, the vaccine is suggested for men as well, but there is yet no such application in our country.
Can I get the vaccine if I have genital wart or HPV infection?
If you get any HPV vaccine before you become sexually active, you will have the top protection against HPV. However, if you are below 26 and sexually active, and if you have genital warts, a positive HPV test, or an abnormal Pap smear test, you can still obtain some benefit from HPV vaccine.
I got HPV vaccine. Do I need booster vaccination?
In the light of the present information, after completing the 3-dose vaccination, booster vaccination is not necessary.
I got HPV vaccine. Do I need annual smear test (cervical cancer screening test)?
Yes. Vaccination does not eliminate the need for cervical smear screening. All women, including also those who got HPV vaccine, must be checked for cervical cancer routinely. Since HPV is not the only factor that causes cervical cancer, the annual smear screening must be had absolutely.