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Health Unit offers free HPV vaccination to grade 8 and high school girls

SIMCOE, JANUARY 20, 2014 – If you missed getting your HPV vaccination in Grade 8 or did not finish all three does you can still get it for free.

HPV or Human Papillomavirus is a common virus that affects both males and females. Some HPV types can cause genital warts, and certain types of cancer. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, spread easily between two people through skin-to-skin contact.

Even if you have only one sexual partner in your lifetime, there is still a 40 per cent chance of infection of one or more types of HPV.

In Canada, over 45,000 men and women suffer from genital warts. About 75% of Canadians will have at least one HPV infection during their lifetime. HPV commonly affects teenagers and young adults but risk remains throughout their life.

Every year in Ontario, it is estimated that over 140,000 procedures for HPV related diseases and cervical cancer are performed. Each year 500 women will develop cervical cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reports that HPV-associated cancers among both genders is estimated at 5.2% of all cancers worldwide. Similar to females, most HPV infections in males have no symptoms. The risk of HPV infections peaks within the first five to ten years of the first sexual experience.

The vaccine administered in Ontario schools HPV immunization program is called Gardasil®. Gardasil ® has been approved for use in Canada for males aged 9-26 and females aged 9-45. The vaccine protects against infection by two high-risk types of HPV (16 and 18), which cause approximately 70% of cervical cancers and two low risk types (6 and 11) which cause approximately 90% of genital warts.

The HPV vaccine is safe. It has been approved for use in over 100 countries, and over 40 million doses have been given worldwide. You cannot become infected with HPV from the vaccine. The HPV vaccine does not contain any preservatives, antibiotics, thimerosal or mercury.

The HPV vaccine is available to all Grade 8 girls in Ontario. It is free and available through school-based clinics. It is also available to girls in Grades 9-12 who did not receive or complete the three-dose immunization in Grade 8.
If you have never had the vaccine before, you will be receiving three does over a period of six months. The girls may “catch up” on missed doses or receive the three does series of the vaccine by calling the Health Unit at 519-426-617- Ext. 3220.

 

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Media contact:
Angela Swick
Public Health Nurse, School Health Team
Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit
Angela.swick@hnhu.org
(519)426-6170 Ext. 3227