One of the vaccines you will be given in school is called the HPV vaccine. HPV stands for human papillomavirus. HPV is a very common sexually transmitted infection that can cause cancer in both males and females. You might be thinking, wait a minute, I am much too young to have a lesson on this. But there is a reason you are learning about this now. You get the vaccine in school around your age. Here’s why you get the vaccine at your age:
- Preteens have a better immune response to the vaccine than older teens. This means that the vaccine works better if you get it when you’re younger instead of waiting until you are older.
- It’s important to get the vaccine before you are sexually active and exposed to HPV.
There are many different types of HPV. Most people come in contact with at least one type in their lifetime. In fact, about 75% of people get HPV at some point in their lives. The good news is that most of the time HPV goes away on its own and doesn’t cause any health problems. The bad news is that sometimes it doesn't go away and some types can cause cancers, like cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, mouth and throat cancer. Other types can cause warts on the genitals.
The best way to protect yourself against many of the types of HPV that cause cancer and genital warts is to get the HPV vaccine.
Watch this great video from Australia that was developed by Cancer Council Victoria to learn more about HPV and the HPV vaccine. Then take the quiz to test your knowledge and earn vaccines!
Just before watching the video there are some important things to know:
- The HPV vaccine given in school now protects against 9 types of HPV and prevents about 90% of cervical cancers.
- In Canada, students are given the HPV vaccine in grade 4, 5, 6 or 7.
- The vaccine may still be free if you missed getting the vaccine in school. Talk to your doctor or public health nurse to find out.
Keep these things in mind when watching the video!