About HPV Vaccination
Q. Why the HPV vaccine is important?
A. HPV is a very common virus. Up to 8 out of 10 women will be infected by HPV at some point in their life. Infection is common in women under the age of 25 years. For most women HPV goes away on its own without causing any problems. However, for some women, HPV infection persists and can cause cervical cancer and other less common cancers— like cancers of the anus, vagina, and vulva.
Q. What does the vaccine contain?
A. The vaccine does not contain a live or killed virus. The vaccine contains a virus like particles of different types of the human papilloma virus. It stimulates the immune system to produce antibodies against the type of virus included in the vaccine.
Q. Is the vaccine safe?
A. The HPV vaccine has been shown to be safe in large clinical trials. Minor side effects such as redness, pain, swelling at the injection site and mild fever might occur. In case of any side effects, please contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Q. Is HPV vaccine offered free?
A. The vaccine is offered free of charge to all female students, grade 11, 15-17 years old. In addition, Thiqa insurance covers the vaccine for national females between the age of 18 to 26
Q. Is there condition where the vaccination needs to be avoided or delayed?
A. HPV vaccination is not given or delayed for the following reasons:
- A life-threatening allergic reaction to any component of HPV vaccine,
- Moderate or severe illness. Those need to wait until they are better. Mildly ill females can still be vaccinated.
- During pregnancy. Receiving HPV vaccine when pregnant is not a reason for termination of pregnancy. Women who are breast feeding may get the vaccine.
About Cervical Screening
Q.I feel healthy, why should I get screened?
A. Signs and symptoms before the development of cancer are not noticeable. Abnormal areas that are not yet cancer can be found through examination of the cervix and treated before cancer develops.
Q. Will the examination hurt?
A. Some discomfort, stinging, and/or pressure may be felt (depending on the type of exam). Relaxing can ease discomfort.
Q. If the test result is negative, is that good?
A. Yes! It most probably means your cervix is normal.
Q. What does a positive test result mean?
A. You may have abnormal areas on your cervix that need treatment to prevent cancer. Additional tests may be needed, or immediate treatment may be offered.
Q. Can HPV be treated?
A. No. There is no treatment for the virus itself. But most genital HPV infections go away with the help of the body’s immune system, usually within 2 years
Even though HPV itself cannot be treated, the cell changes caused by an HPV infection can. For example, genital warts can be treated. Pre-cancer cell changes caused by HPV can be found by Pap tests and treated. And cervical, anal, and genital cancers can be treated, too.
Q. Should I get a Pap test when I have my period?
A. No. Doctors suggest you schedule a Pap test when you do not have your period. The best time to be tested is 10 to 20 days after the first day of your last period.