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Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

What is Human Papillomavirus?

  • Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can affect the throat, mouth and genital area and is mostly spread through skin to skin contact 

  • It is the most common sexually transmitted infection and can cause genital warts

What is at risk of  HPV?

  • The simple answer is everyone! However, there are some factors that are associated with higher risk:

  • Number of sexual partners

  • Age of first sexual intercourse

  • Men who have sex with men (MSM)

  • Immunosuppressive conditions or medications that suppress the immune system (i.e transplant medications, chemotherapy, cancer, HIV)

What are symptoms of HPV?

  • HPV often does not have any symptoms but in some cases can cause genital warts. 

  • Most of the time HPV does not cause any issues but infections are associated with increased risk of cervical, anal, penile, vaginal cancers.

  • In total it is believed that around 5% of all cancers can be attributed to HPV. 

What about the HPV vaccine?

  • The HPV vaccine protects against 9 types of HPV (types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, 58).  

  • In Alberta, the HPV vaccine  is a routine vaccine in childhood 

  • Adults may also be eligible for the HPV vaccine depending on your immunization history.

  • Talk to our pharmacists to get more information about HPV and vaccine eligibility

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