How the HPV Vaccine Can Help Young Women

					The Human Papillomavirus or HPV is a highly contagious infection that can
lead to cervical cancers in women. The disease can be treated, and the
lesions may disappear, but the infection remains in the body. HPV
treatment can vary, from using medications to surgery, but as the
infection remains the symptoms may reappear. It has been found the about
70% of cervical cancers are a result of a woman being infected with HPV
at some stage during her lifetime, often years earlier.What is HPV?There
are many different types of the virus, some which cause common warts
found on places like the hands or feet, but there are about 40 different
types that cause genital warts. All warts are highly contagious and
anyone who is sexually active is at risk of contracting genital warts. It
is these strains of the HPV virus that can lead to precancerous changes
in the cervix.HPV VaccineThere is now a vaccine available that can help
prevent cervical cancer and conditions caused by HPV. This vaccine is
available for women and is given to young girls as part of the
immunisation program offered through schools. Girls are offered the
vaccine at 12 or 13 years of age, which parents will need to give
permission for, and the vaccine is given as three shots generally over a
6 month period.Who is at risk?All women are at risk, this is why it is
important to educated and vaccine young women and girls against the risks
of HPV. If a young woman is sexually active or plans on being so in the
future then she is at risk. It has been shown that nearly one in every
two sexually active females has the infection, and even if they have no
symptoms they can still be a carrier. A woman may be aware she has
contracted the infection because she develops a case of genital warts, or
she has an abnormal Pap test or is tested positive for HPV.How is it
spread?Genital warts are usually spread by skin to skin contact during
intercourse with someone with the virus. Condoms can be used to help
protect you against the virus but these are not a fool proof method of
control due to the fact that not all of the skin is covered. The only
method that is 100% effective is avoiding sexual contact altogether with
someone who is infected, although you can't be certain of this method
either since many people have the disease but show no symptoms or do not
even know it themselves.When is it best to be vaccinated?It is best for
girls or young women to be vaccinated before they are sexually active.
The vaccine itself is not a live vaccine so the disease cannot be caught
from receiving it. Side effects are rare, although mild reactions may
include pain, swelling, redness or itchiness around the injection site.
Other less common reactions can include fever, dizziness or nausea.

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