5 things you should know about the HPV vaccine

When you get a virus like flu, your body produces something called “antibodies” – which basically means that your immune system will be able to fight that virus the next time it appears. 

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections that can be spread through skin-to-skin contact during sex. There are different types of HPV strains, and some strains can cause cervical cancer. These are five things that you should know about the HPV vaccine and why it’s important to get it.

The vaccine helps fight HPV

When you get vaccinated for HPV, your body will respond by creating antibodies that will fight the virus should you come into contact with it.

The vaccine doesn’t protect against other STIs 

The vaccine will not protect you against other STIs because it’s specifically meant to protect you from HPV, which is why it’s always safer for you to use condoms at all times. 

Guys should also get vaccinated

Believe it or not, the HPV vaccine is not only exclusive to women, but men are also encouraged to get vaccinated against HPV in order to prevent HPV linked cancers, as well as genital warts.

A vaccine shouldn’t replace a pap smear 

Although getting vaccinated protects you from some types of HPV, it does not protect you against all possible strains. Which is why it’s important to get a pap smear done, even though you may have been vaccinated for HPV because a pap smear can pick up strains of the virus that the vaccine may have failed to protect against. 

Get vaccinated before you’re sexually active 

The HPV vaccine helps protect against the most common types of HPV that can cause cancer when you’re older, which is why it’s better that both genders get vaccinated before they’re sexually active. But, that does not mean that you shouldn’t get the vaccination if you’re already sexually active.

You or your parents and guardians might be concerned about the safety of the HPV vaccine, but they have proven to be  quite safe, necessary and effective. If you’re worried, speak to a nurse at your nearest clinic about it, or to your doctor. Again Choma , getting vaccinated doesn’t make you immune to other STIs –  so remember to engage in safe sex all the time. 

In the meantime, you or a friend can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657) if you ever need to chat.