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HPV Vaccines

  • There are currently 2 HPV vaccines available in South Africa.2, 8, 18, 22
  • The bivalent vaccine covers HPV types 16 and 18.2, 8, 18, 22
  • The quadrivalent vaccine covers types 6, 11, 16 and 18.18
  • Indications vary due to the differences in types covered.2, 8, 17, 18, 22
  • Both are “Virus Like Particle” (VLP) vaccines.2, 8, 17, 18
  • VLP means that it resembles the “empty shell” of a virus particle that can induce protective immunity when used as a vaccine.2, 8, 17, 18, 22
  • VLPs contain L1 protein but do not contain any viral DNA and are therefore not infectious and not carcinogenic.2, 8, 17, 18
  • Unlike live or attenuated vaccines there is no risk of infection from the vaccine.2, 8, 17, 18, 22
  • The safety of HPV vaccines has been well reviewed.34
  • Most commonly experienced side effects are: redness, swelling, heat and pain at the injection site, headache and fever. These are the same for almost all vaccines.18, 22
  • Vaccines are preparations that activate the natural immune system to produce anti-bodies (soldiers of the immune system) that will recognise the particular virus (enemy of the immune system) vaccinated against in the future.2, 8, 17, 18, 22
  • In-population data, from countries that have vaccination programmes, shows excellent efficacy results.19, 20

You Should Understand the Importance of Pap Smears

Pap tests have been proven to help save lives. They test for abnormal cells in the lining of the cervix before they have the chance to become precancerous or cervical cancer.2, 9, 23, 34

Having an abnormal smear test or pap smear isn't any reason to panic—it doesn't always mean that you are at risk for cancer or even have HPV. Your doctor may repeat the test or do other tests, as needed.2, 9, 34

The HPV vaccination does not take the place of pap smears. You should follow your doctor's advice on when to get yours2, 9, 34.

Help Guard Against Diseases Caused by HPV by Getting Vaccinated

Getting vaccinated can help protect you against HPV infection and its consequences. There is a HPV vaccine that helps protect against 4 types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV): 2 types that cause 70 % of cervical cancer cases, and 2 more types that cause 90 % of genital wart cases.18