HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus. It is one among the common STDs which can be dangerous. People in the period of adolescence are most commonly infected with HPV. There are many different types of HPV. In general, HPV does not cause any health problems and most of the times, it is undetectable. However, when the virus stays inside the body, it can cause health issues like genital warts and cancer. HPV is the cause for almost all cervical cancer cases. It can cause other cancers affecting the vagina, penis, anus, or vulva.
It is responsible for an important fraction of cancers in the back of the throat, sometimes passed to the whole mouth and the tonsils. Again, the types of HPV that cause cancer and genital warts are different. Cancer can slowly progress in time taking decades after the virus starts taking its toll. Unfortunately, there are no methods to find whether a person is having cancer or other health issues beforehand. Usually, people with weak immune systems does not have the energy to fight off HPV.
Keeping these things in mind, it is better to avoid the HPV virus rather than suffering from it. For this, HPV vaccination is safe and effective.
HPV Vaccine in India
HPV vaccine is known by the popular name Gardasil 9. It protects against:
- HPV Types 16 and 18 – causes 80% of cervical cancer cases.
- HPV Types 6 and 11 – cause 90% of genital warts cases.
- Another 5 types of HPV (types 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58) – causes cancer of cervix, anus, vulva/vagina, penis, or throat.
All the people ages between 9 to 45 can get this vaccine to protect against the deadly diseases. It’s recommended that children get their vaccines at the age of 11 or 12. The one side effect that this vaccine has is temporary pain and redness where you get the shot.
HPV Vaccine Price / Cost in India
Two types of HPV Vaccines are currently available in India.
- Bivalent (Cervarix) – protection against 2 types of HPV
- Quadrivalent (Gardasil) – protection against 4 types of HPV
Bivalent costs you around 2400 rupees per dose and quadrivalent costs you around 3300 Rupees per dose.
HPV Vaccine Schedule in India
The dosage of the vaccine is 0.5 ml given intramuscularly. It is given either in the deltoid muscle or in the anterolateral thigh. It is available as a prefilled syringe which needs to be shaken well before use. It is also available as a sterile suspension for injection in a single dose vial. You need to follow the instructions carefully before using it.
With the type, Gardasil, a total of 3 doses is recommended. It should be at 0, 2 and 6 months respectively. The other type, Cervarix, requires 3 doses at 0, 1 and 6 months respectively. The minimum interval for this type is 4 weeks between the first and second dose, 12 weeks between the second and third dose and 24 weeks between the first and third dose. If the schedule is interrupted, the vaccine series need not be restarted. If the series is interrupted after the first dose, the second dose should be given as soon as possible. The interval between second and third doses should be at least 12 weeks. If the third dose is delayed, it should be administered as soon as possible.
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As these vaccines have three times dosage schedule, these are excellent in immunogenicity. As a result, high peak titers of antibodies are created by the person’s immune system. These responses are paramount in girls with age ranging from 9 to 15 years. The antibody titers are maintained at least for 8.4 years for bivalent and 8 years for quadrivalent vaccines. According to some data taken from animal models, this protection by HPV vaccines through the immune system is assumed to be moderately compromised by poly clonal neutralizing antibodies against the major viral coat protein. In a clinical trial, both the vaccines induced high antibody titers 4 weeks after the last dose which then declined for a year and later got stabilized at a plateau titer.
It is always better to prevent a disease than to suffer at a later period of time. So, please ensure to take HPV vaccines to avoid certain health problems and cancers. Educate people about the vaccine.