To be most effective, the vaccine is recommended to be given between the ages of nine and 13.
To be most effective, the vaccine is recommended to be given between the ages of nine and 13.(Photo: iStock/Altered by The Quint)
  • 1. What Is The Need for HPV Vaccine?
  • 2. Why Give the Vaccine to Pre-Teens? Why Not Later?
  • 3. Can Sexually Active Women Also Get Vaccinated?
  • 4. Should It Be Part of the Universal Immunisation Programme?
  • 5. Is Cost a Concern?
  • 6. Is Rural Population Affected More Than the Urban?
  • 7. Should Boys Get the Vaccine Too?
Why Your Little Girl Needs Vaccine for Sexually Transmitted HPV

What happens when it’s recommended that 9-year-old girls get vaccinated against a sexually-transmitted virus? We get squeamish.

Doctors are asking for all girls after the age of nine to be given vaccine for HPV (human papillomavirus), which causes cervical cancer. The reason is that kids one day will grow up and have sex and therefore, it’s important to protect them from this harmful virus. There has been some push to include the HPV vaccine as part of the country’s universal immunisation programme.

However, there still are a lot of questions that people have in mind and not everyone is convinced. Why now? Our pre-teens aren’t having sex right now. Can we get the vaccine later in life? Does it have side effects? What is HPV and how harmful is it? Our explainer as we observe Cervical Cancer Prevention Week.

  • 1. What Is The Need for HPV Vaccine?

    Cervical cancer, mainly caused by HPV, is the leading cancer in Indian women, the second most common cancer in women worldwide, and the fifth most common cancer in humans.

    Too caught up to read? Listen to the story:

    In India, there are 74,000 deaths caused by cervical cancer and 1.32 lakh new cases diagnosed every year. Nearly 366 million Indian girls and women aged 15 years and above are at risk from cervical cancer.

    Gynaecologists we spoke with vouch for the vaccine and several studies have been published which call it an effective option.

    There is a vaccine that promises to prevent this deadly cancer, then why will you not take it? What is the hesitation? We vaccinate our children without even a second thought because they’ll protect them from some deadly infection. So why not this?
    Dr Ranjana Sharma, Senior Consultant, Gynaecology, Apollo Hospital
    To be most effective, the vaccine is recommended to be given between the ages of nine and 13.

    HPV is the most common sexually-transmitted infection (STD) globally.

    (Photo: iStock)

    HPV is the most common sexually-transmitted infection (STD) globally. Most people are infected at some point in their lives.

    HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses. Most HPV infections are usually harmless and go away by themselves, but some types can lead to cancer or genital warts. Nearly all cervical cancer is due to HPV of two types, HPV16 and HPV18.

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