Since necessity is the mother of invention, HPV vaccine was discovered. HPV stands for human papillomavirus, a virus transmitted through sexual interactions . It is considered worldwide to be the most common sexually transmitted infection. Researchers discovered that some types of the HPV are extremely dangerous and worth a thorough study. They are thought to be the primary cause of cervical cancer, some less common cancers and associates with the development of genital warts among girls and women.
HPV is a life-threatening virus that is growing rapidly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 79 million people in the U.S. are infected with at least one of the multiple types of HPV. What’s more, it has been estimated that 26,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with a cancer caused by HPV annually. After thorough study, both Food & Drug Administration as well as World Health Organization (WHO), approved of two vaccines to be taken as an immunization against HPV.
Gardasil and Cervarix are two preventative vaccines used to fight against HPV. Both vaccines provide protection against the two types of virus (HVP-16 and HVP-18) that cause most cases of cervical, anal, vaginal, vulvar cancers. Furthermore, the discovery of Gardasil vaccination showed that it also protects against the two HPV types, (HPV-6 and HPV-11) that cause 90% of genital warts. Since the vaccination only deals with high-risk types of HPV, experts encourage women to carry on the regular procedure of Pap Smear test regardless of taking the vaccine.
On the other hand, HPV vaccine is not limited to women. Men are also advised to take Gardasil vaccination in several countries, including Australia,United Kingdom and United States, in order to protect their partners from cervical cancer as well as protect themselves against anal cancer, genital warts and other rare types of cancer caused by HPV. Consequently, CDC in collaboration with FDA recommended the three dosage injection of HPV vaccination for both boys and girls starting from age 11 or 12. Moreover, from a public health perspective, vaccinating men and women reduces the virus widespread within the population.
HPV vaccine, like all other vaccines, has its advantages and disadvantages. The vaccination is considered to be highly effective and worth great attention. However, concerns have been raised about the side effects of the vaccination. On the one hand, the majority of these reactions to the HPV vaccine are not critical, they include: dizziness, fever, swellings and pain at the injection site and nausea. On the other hand, post-immunization federal government reports, showed some cases that suffered from adverse reactions like, hospitalization, terminal illness, death and physical disability. However, there is no proof that these reactions are linked to the vaccine.
Whether the benefits of the vaccination outperform its risks or not, was a main concern to many people. According to science, the advantages of HPV vaccine far outweighs its disadvantages. It was discovered by a recent analysis of clinical trials that both, Gardasil and Cervarix have significant results of reducing the chance of women developing the cervical, vaginal and vulvar characteristics preceding cancer. It has also proved to decrease the rates of the tissue irregularities that precede anal cancer in men.
Eventually, it’s parents choice whether to experiment the HPV vaccine on their kids or not. However, it’s a crucial scientific discovery that is worth to be considered.
By: Mona Salman