HPV Vaccine (Human Papillomavirus)
There are over a hundred different types of HPV, human papillomavirus. Some types can cause genital warts, called condyloma. Some types of HPV can cause cell changes that can lead to cancer, especially in the abdomen but also in the mouth and anal region. The types that cause cancer do not usually cause warts. The two types of HPV that cause the most cases of cancer are numbers 16 and 18. It can take a long time from infection to cell changes which then in some cases turn into cancer. Sometimes it takes several decades.
HPV is transmitted through skin and mucous membrane contact. It is the most common sexually transmitted disease in Sweden. Most people who are sexually active have or have had an HPV infection. By getting vaccinated, you can protect yourself against certain types of HPV that cause cancer, but it also provides protection against condyloma. Women between the ages of 23 and 64 are regularly called in for gynaecological cell specimens to detect any cell changes caused by HPV.
HPV vaccine for both girls and boys
Vaccination against HPV is included in the childhood vaccination program. Nowadays, a vaccine is used that protects against nine different types of HPV. Previously, only girls were vaccinated, but from the autumn of 2020, boys in Sweden will also be offered the HPV vaccine in the childhood vaccination program. By also vaccinating boys against HPV, they get the opportunity to protect themselves against HPV infections, which can reduce the risk of developing HPV-related cancer and condyloma and also reduce the spread of infection.
Vaccination against HPV
The current vaccine included in the childhood vaccination program protects against nine different types of HPV. Previously, a vaccine was used that protects against four types, but this is now being phased out.
The vaccination normally takes place in year five of the school. The vaccine is given in two doses at least 6 months apart to children between 9 and 14 years of age. If you are over 15 years old, three doses of the vaccine are given.
You can also get vaccinated later in life. The previous vaccine that protected against four types of HPV was subsidized for women up to 26 years of age. Unfortunately, this does not apply to the niovalent vaccine at present.
There is currently no recommendation that you need to take a refill dose of the vaccine. Long-term studies are underway to check for residual protection. It is important that women continue to undergo gynaecological cell specimens when called, even if they are vaccinated.