By now you’ve probably had the HPV vaccine (known as Gardasil) at school. It might have hurt a bit. More likely you’ve forgotten all about it.
So what is HPV and why were you vaccinated against it?
Here are the facts.
We think that you’ll be pretty pleased when you find out what it means for you.
HPV (or human papillomavirus) is one of the most common sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in Australia. Anyone who is sexual active can get it and usually it has no symptoms. Some types of HPV cause genital warts. Others types are associated with cervical cancer and other cancers.
What does the vaccine do?
The HPV vaccine protects from the types of HPV known to cause almost all cervical cancers and genital warts.
You can find more information about HPV here.
Get more information about the HPV vaccine here.
What does that mean for you?
You’re less likely to get cervical cancer
Australia is on track to become the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer in the next 20 years! That’s great news!
You’re less likely to get genital warts
Since the introduction of vaccination against HPV, there has been a 90% reduction in genital warts in young Australians aged between 15–20 years. More great news!
You’re not off the hook
Don’t forget the condoms
Even if you’ve had the HPV vaccine, condoms are still needed to prevent other STIs such as chlamydia. And get tested regularly if you are sexually active.
You’ll still need to get a Cervical Screening Test…but not for a while yet
While the HPV vaccine prevents most types of HPV infection it does not prevent all of them. This is why it’s still important for anybody with a cervix to have regular Cervical Screening Tests from the age of 25 even if they’ve had the HPV vaccine.
Not sure if you had the vaccine?
Talk to your doctor or nurse if you missed out on the HPV vaccine at school, or if you’re not sure if you had it. They can help you decide whether it’s useful for you get vaccinated.
If you are under 20 years old and did not receive the vaccines at school, you can get the HPV vaccine for free from your GP or other provider under the National Immunisation Program.