Does your daughter need to be vaccinated against human papilloma virus (HPV) infection? The answer is a resounding yes!
HPV vaccine is recommended for girls ages 9-13 years and three doses protect them against HPV infections that cause genital warts and cervical cancer. Recurrent HPV infection, which is transmitted sexually, is a cause for cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, sickening 5,10,000 women and killing 2,88,000 each year.
In India, 132,000 new cervical cancer cases and 74,000 deaths occur each year, with Indian women facing a 2.5% cumulative lifetime risk and 1.4% cumulative death risk from cervical cancer.
Delhi will become India’s first state to start vaccinating adolescent girls studying in Class VI in government schools against cervical cancer this year, with the free vaccination programme being expanded to include all 9-13 year olds beginning next year.
While Delhi government will buy the vaccine at a subsidised rate of Rs 450 per dose for its vaccination programme, you can ask a paediatrician to get your daughter vaccinated .
Parents fear side effects, which are little different from other vaccines –– pain or redness at the site of the shot, mild fever, muscle and joint pain and nausea, if at all.
HPV vaccines are sold under brandnames Cervarix (costs Rs 3,299 per dose) and for Gardasil (Rs 2,800 per dose). While Cervarix offers immunity against HPV 16 and 18, Gardasil generates immunity against HPV 16, 18, 11 and 6.
At any given time, about 6.6% of women in India have cervical HPV infection. While HPV strains 11 and 6 cause 90% of HPV-related genital warts, HPV 16 and 18 account for nearly 76.7% of cervical cancer in India. Warts are reported in 2–25% of sexually transmitted disease clinic attendees in India.
These vaccines are prophylactic (protective) in nature, but give no protection to women with cervical cancer and offer little cross protection against the more than 150 serotypes of HPV that also cause cancer.
But the benefits of three doses are established. A study of cervical cancer in India, Brazil, Mexico and China at the Catalan Institute of Oncology, Spain, found that vaccinating just 70% of Indian women against HPV stains 16 and 18 strains halved women’s lifetime risk of cervical cancer .
Should boys get vaccinated too? Some experts say yes, because HPV 6 and 11 also cause genital warts in men and some HPV strains have been linked to anal cancers that affect close to 40,000 men in India each year.
Why your daughter needs HPV vaccination
* Cervical cancer is the fifth most common cancer , and the second most common cancer in women, worldwide.
* Every year, 510,000 new cases and 288,000 cervical cancer deaths are recorded globally.
* It’s the second most common cancer in India, after breast cancer
* In India, 132,000 new cervical cancer cases and 74,000 deaths occur each year.
* At any given time, about 6.6% of women in the general population harbor cervical HPV infection.
* Indian women face a 2.5% cumulative lifetime risk and 1.4% cumulative death risk from cervical cancer.
* HPV serotypes 16 and 18 account for nearly 76.7% of cervical cancer in India.
* Warts are reported in 2–25% of sexually transmitted disease clinic attendees in India.