Should I get the HPV (Gardasil) vaccine?
The following information should assist when deciding if the HPV vaccine is right for you. The information provided is for educational purposes only and does not replace consultation with your Doctor, nor does it qualify as personalised medical advice. Please make an appointment with your Doctor to discuss further.
What is the Gardasil®9 vaccine?
Gardasil® 9 is a vaccine created to prevent the 9 most problematic strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV), 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45 and 52.
In females, Gardasil 9 can help prevent:
- Cervical, vulval and anal cancer
- Cancerous and precancerous cells in the cervical, vaginal, anal and vulvar regions
- Genital warts
- HPV infection
In males, Gardasil 9 can help prevent:
- Anal cancer and precancerous anal lesions
- HPV infection
- Genital warts and external genital lesions
The vaccine is recommended for administration to boys and girls as part of the National Immunisation Program (NIP) in Australia.
In addition, Gardasil 9 can be purchased privately.
What is the human papillomavirus?
- The human papillomavirus (HPV) refers to a very common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can lead to serious complications if left undetected
“HPV can often present without any symptoms, and for this reason is easily spread.”
- Four out of five people may have HPV at some point in their lives, and not know
- The virus is transmitted during sexual contact via genital to skin, not just penetrative sexual activity and enters the skin through tiny openings
- Condoms are not 100% effective in preventing the spread of HPV as they do not cover the entire genital area
- There is currently no treatment for HPV, so prevention and regular cervical screening is important
How is Gardasil 9 different from the original Gardasil vaccine?
Gardasil 9 protects against 9 strains of HPV – 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45 and 52, whereas the original Gardasil offers protection against 4 strains of HPV – 6, 11, 16 and 18.
Strains 6 and 11 cause genital warts. Strains 16 and 18 are linked to cancers.
What side-effects can I expect from the vaccine?
As with any vaccine there can be side-effects. If experienced, these are usually mild and can be managed with simple analgesia, cold pack and rest.
The most common reported side-effects for Gardasil 9 are:
- Pain, redness and/or swelling at the injection site
- Feeling faint
- Sore throat
- Fever (high temperature)
- Stomach pain or discomfort
It’s important to remember that you may experience one of these symptoms, or none at all. Talk to your Doctor if you have any concerns.
Do I still need to get cervical screening tests if I have had the HPV vaccine?
Yes, you should still have regular Cervical Screening Tests, even if you have had the HPV vaccine. Gardasil 9 can protect from up to 90% of the HPV types that can cause several cancers including cervical, vaginal, vulval, anal, throat, and penile. It does not offer protection against all types of HPV.
For more information about Cervical Screening visit National Cervical Screening Program.
Gardasil®9 is available at Queen Street Medical Centre.
Phone reception on (07) 3229 9355 today or book an appointment online.