HPV vaccination for females over 15 years at Gynekologie Maxima
Vaccination is a breakthrough in cervical cancer and genital warts prevention. The vaccine given in three injections into a muscle of the upper arm or thigh over six months protects against four human papillomavirus types (6,11,16, and 18), two of which (16 and 18) cause more than 70% of cervical cancers.
The best time for vaccination
Only females over 15 years can be vaccinated at our clinic. Girls should ideally get the vaccine before they become sexually active. If you have already had sex, a pap smear will have to be done before the first vaccine is given. Alternatively, you will be offered the COBAS test to determine the virus types you carry and their oncogenic potential (the probability of their causing cancer in the future).
When is the vaccination not recommended
HPV vaccination is not recommended during pregnancy and any acute illness. However, you can get the vaccine when breastfeading. Tanning beds, sauna, excessive physical activity and drinking large amounts of alcohol should be avoided on the day of vaccination. You should also consider getting the vaccine while taking antibiotics. No other vaccine should be given within 14 days after the HPV vaccination.
What is the likelihood of getting cervical cancer
There is no clear answer: it mostly depends on the virus type, its oncogenic potential, and one´s imunity system. After the infection, cervix cells change over time and may cause cancer later on. Women may get infected at a young age, become a carrier of the virus a be diagnosed with the cervical cancer many years later.
How effective are the vaccines
No vaccine is 100% effective. The best protection against HPV is the combination of vaccination, preventive gynecological exams amd healthy lifestile, namely avoiding promiscuity (having sex frequently with different partners).
Research has shown that papillomaviruses associated with cervical cancer cause some of the tumors in the so-called orofacial region, especially laryngeal carcinoma. If vaccinated against HPV, you´ll thus be protected against these diseases to some extent.
Cervarix or Silgard
Silgard protects against HPV types 6 and 11 which may cause genital warts while Cervarix protects against cervical cancer only. According to recent studies, however, its innovative ASO4 adjuvant (combination of phosphoryl lipid and aluminium salt) enhances the body’s immune response thanks to the resulting cross protection against other high-risk oncogenic HPV types. Cervarix is therefore the preffered vaccine at our centre.
Recommendation of the Czech Gynecological and Obstetrical Society to HPV vaccination in women treated for precancerous conditions of the cervix
Cervical cancer vaccination was introduced in the Czech Republic in 2007. In accordance with a statutory provision, the vaccine is covered by public insurance for girls aged 13. It is also recommended for adult women, boys and young men.
The vaccines act as strong immunogens which block naturally occurring infections not reported by the immunity system. Their effectiveness is constantly checked. The vaccines are not therapeutic, i.e. they most likely do not have treatment effect.
Cervix lesions with oncogenic potential detected during preventive examinations (screening) are usually excised. As many as 30% of the cases show infection by multiple HPV types.
The excision may thus not completely remove the latent infection and may not prevent further infection by the same or different HPV type.
Research has shown that the vaccination is effective against some of the lesions associated with HPV in the whole anogenital tract and also extragenital regions (larynx, orofacial region).
Side effects of the vaccination, constantly monitored by strict clinical studies and metaanalyses, are statistically and biologically insignificant. Recent objections on the toxicity of aluminium used in adjuvants are but myths.
It is necessary for women who have undergone excisions (conization) to change their attitude to HPV vaccination, as well as attitudes of medical specialists who either rely on the lasting results of the conization or are sceptical to the vaccination of women infected earlier.
The Czech Gynecological and Obstetrical society of the Czech Medical Society of J. E. Purkyně therefore recommends HPV vaccination even to women who have been diagnosed with precancerous stage of cervical cancer. The vaccine can be given before or after the treatment.