Dispelling common myths surrounding HPV vaccination - Hindustan Times
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Dispelling common myths surrounding HPV vaccination

Jan 29, 2024 01:25 PM IST

The introduction of HPV vaccines has been instrumental in preventing high-risk HPV infections associated with cancer

HPV vaccines has been instrumental in preventing high-risk HPV infections
HPV vaccines has been instrumental in preventing high-risk HPV infections

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection, primarily transmitted through sexual intercourse, is the leading cause of cervical cancer. While there is no cure for HPV, and it often resolves on its own within two years without symptoms, the introduction of HPV vaccines has been instrumental in preventing high-risk HPV infections associated with cancer. Let's debunk some prevalent myths about HPV vaccination:

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Myth: HPV vaccination is not safe

Fact: Extensive research supports the safety and efficacy of HPV vaccination in preventing high-risk HPV infections (which are most commonly responsible for causing cervical cancer). The vaccines effectively curb pre-cancerous conditions and subsequent cancers.

Myth: Girls over 15 years of age cannot get vaccinated

Fact: While the ideal time for HPV vaccination is before sexual activity begins, girls aged 9-14 years are advised to receive two doses. However, those seeking vaccination up to the age of 26 years or after becoming sexually active should not be discouraged, as studies show some degree of benefit even in these groups. Benefit of HPV vaccination in women between the ages of 26-45 years may be discussed individually.

Myth: Pap smears & health check-ups are sufficient for the prevention of cervical cancer

Fact: Pap smears and regular health check-ups are effective for early cervical cancer detection, but they do not negate the importance of HPV vaccination as a preventive strategy. HPV infections are widespread globally, and vaccination complements the natural immune response, providing stronger and more durable protection.

Myth: HPV vaccines cause ovarian failure

Fact: Concerns about HPV vaccines causing ovarian failure or promoting sexual promiscuity are unfounded. Numerous studies have debunked these notions, reaffirming the safety of HPV vaccines. Studies on HPV vaccination and fertility have indicated that, it may, in fact protect fertility among individuals who have had other STIs and there is no scientific basis to link them to premature menopause.

Myth: Boys don't need HPV vaccination.

Fact: Boys can also benefit from HPV vaccination, as it offers protection against anal, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers. Expanding the reach of vaccination to both genders contributes to comprehensive public health.

Dr Shubham Jain, Senior Consultant, Surgical Oncology, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute Research Centre at Niti Bagh

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Ruchika Garg writes on food, health, culture, and lifestyle for the Daily Entertainment and Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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