08 December 2012

HPV Vaccination

Just done with my second dose of HPV vaccination on Dec, 6. One more to go in 6 months time. I received email from my company regarding this event. The first 3000 employees will receive a subsidy of RM60 on the first dose. This event is part of the company's Wellness Program. There are two vaccination offered actually; Hepatitis A&B and HPV. I decided to take part in HPV vaccination. 

While waiting in line for my turn, I was freaking scared actually. I've been texting my cousin (a doctor) asking bout the injection such as "where will it be?", "does it hurt?" and etc. Fyi, I have bad history with needle when I was small. 

I was alone that day queueing for my first dose, have nobody to hold or talk and I ended up talking with strangers. (>_<). When it was my turn, I told the doctor "please do it nicely, I'm scared!". And she replied, "don't worry.. sit back and relax, inhale, exhale.. and okay, its done!". I was like "hahh.. really? it was fast!". Then I stand up smiling, walked to my car and headed home since I was off shift that day.  

Btw, my second dose went well. Still afraid but able to managed it. My hand feels less numb compared to the first injection which took me two days to get back to normal condition. It worth your money and of course, your life! :)

**Some reading on HPV. If you wish to read more do visit this site or you can google it urself.

HPV Vaccine Information For Young Women - Fact Sheet
Two vaccines are available to prevent the human papillomavirus (HPV) types that cause most cervical cancers. These vaccines are bivalent vaccine (Cervarix) and quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil). One of the HPV vaccines, Gardasil, also prevents HPV types that cause most genital warts. Gardasil also has been shown to prevent some cancers of the anus, vulva (area around the opening of the vagina), and vagina. Both vaccines are given in 3 shots over 6 months.

Why is the HPV vaccine important?
Genital HPV is a common virus that is passed from one person to another through direct skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity. Most sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives, though most will never even know it. HPV infection is most common in people in their late teens and early 20s. There are about 40 types of HPV that can infect the genital areas of men and women. Most HPV types cause no symptoms and go away on their own. But some types can cause cervical cancer in women and other less common cancers— like cancers of the anus, penis, vagina, and vulva and oropharynx (back of throat including base of tongue and tonsils). Other types of HPV can cause warts in the genital areas of men and women, called genital warts. Genital warts are not life-threatening. But they can cause emotional stress and their treatment can be very uncomfortable. Every year, about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 women die from this disease in the U.S. About 1% of sexually active adults in the U.S. have visible genital warts at any point in time.

Which girls/women should receive HPV vaccination?
HPV vaccination is recommended with either vaccine for 11 and 12 year-old girls. It is also recommended for girls and women age 13 through 26 years of age who have not yet been vaccinated or completed the vaccine series; HPV vaccine can also be given to girls beginning at age 9 years. 

How effective are the HPV Vaccines?
The vaccines target the HPV types that most commonly cause cervical cancer. One of the vaccines (Gardasil) also protects against the HPV types that cause most genital warts. Both vaccines are highly effective in preventing the targeted HPV types, as well as the most common health problems caused by them. The vaccines are less effective in preventing HPV-related disease in young women who have already been exposed to one or more HPV types. That is because the vaccines prevent HPV before a person is exposed to it.  HPV vaccines do not treat existing HPV infections or HPV-associated diseases.

How long does vaccine protection last?
Research suggests that vaccine protection is long-lasting. Current studies have followed vaccinated individuals for six years, and show that there is no evidence of weakened protection over time.

What does the vaccine not protect against? 
The vaccines do not protect against all HPV types— so they will not prevent all cases of cervical cancer. About 30% of cervical cancers will not be prevented by the vaccines, so it will be important for women to continue getting screened for cervical cancer (regular Pap tests). Also, the vaccines do not prevent other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). So it will still be important for sexually active persons to lower their risk for other STIs.

Will girls and women be protected against HPV and related diseases, even if they don’t get all 3 doses?
It is not yet known how much protection girls and women get from receiving only one or two doses of an HPV vaccine. So it is very important that girls and women get all 3 doses.

Why is HPV vaccination only recommended for women through age 26?
HPV vaccination is not currently recommended for women over age 26 years. Clinical trials showed that, overall, HPV vaccination offered women limited or no protection against HPV-related diseases. For women over age 26 years, the best way to prevent cervical cancer is to get routine cervical cancer screening, as recommended. 

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