You’re doing your best to look after yourself, but let’s face it- who actually remembers what all those vaccinations we got at school were meant to protect us from?
The National HPV (human papillomavirus) Vaccination Program began in Australia in 2007, with most young people getting the HPV vaccine (known as Gardasil) at school around the age of 12-13.
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in Australia. Anyone can get it and usually it has no symptoms. Some types of HPV cause warts. Others can lead to changes in the cells of the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer. You can find more information about HPV here.
We’ve got some very exciting news about the HPV vaccination!
Cervical cancer is on its way out (yay!)
Between our excellent vaccination and cervical screening program, Australia is on track to become the first country in the world to eliminate cervical cancer in the next 20 years.
Genital warts are on their way out too
Genital warts are caused by HPV. Since the vaccination program against HPV started, there has been a 90% reduction in genital warts in young Australians aged between 15–20 years.
But what does that actually mean for you?
Remember to take care of yourself
While the HPV vaccine prevents most types of HPV infection it does not prevent all of them. This is why it’s still important for anybody with a cervix to have regular Cervical Screening Tests from the age of 25 even if they’ve had the HPV vaccine. This will keep us on track towards kicking cervical cancer to the curb.
Find out more information about the Cervical Screening Test here.
Don’t forget the condoms
Even if you’ve had the HPV vaccine, condoms are still needed to prevent other STIs such as chlamydia. And get tested regularly if you are sexually active.
Not sure if you had the vaccine?
Talk to your doctor or nurse if you missed out on the HPV vaccine at school, or if you’re not sure if you had it. They can help you decide whether it’s useful for you get vaccinated.
If you are under 20 years old and did not receive the vaccines at school, you can get the HPV vaccine for free from your GP or other providers under the National Immunisation Program.
Find out more about the HPV vaccination here.