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Spread the word, not the virus

February is sexual health awareness month. Let’s take this opportunity and talk about HPV, the most common STI in Canada. Approximately 75% of sexually active Canadians will have at least one HPV infection in their lifetime, with the highest rates of HPV infection occurring in young people aged 18 to 26 however HPV can be prevented with vaccination.


What is HPV?

HPV - or human papillomavirus - is a very common virus that can affect both males and females. There are more than 100 types of HPV, which can affect different parts of the body. Many are harmless and go away on their own, however some can cause specific types of cancer.

How does someone get HPV?

HPV can easily spread through any form of sexual activity, even brief skin-to-skin contact in the genital area.

Can HPV infection be treated?

There is no treatment for an HPV infection, but some health problems and symptoms caused by HPV infections can be managed through treatment. For example, genital warts can be treated in a doctor’s office.

What health problems does HPV cause?

The most serious strains of HPV can cause several types of cancer, including cancer of the cervix, anus, oropharynx, penis, vulva, and vagina. Other types of HPV can cause genital warts.

How common are HPV infections?

About 75 out of 100 sexually active people will get HPV in their lifetime.

Why you should get the HPV vaccine?

If more children in Canada were vaccinated against HPV, together we could prevent:

1075 cases of head and neck cancers by 2042

3980 cancers of the anus and genitals by 2042

The HPV vaccine protects against two types of HPV that cause about 90% of genital warts.

How many injections are required?

The HPV vaccine Gardasil®9 is given in two or three doses over six months. Individuals with a healthy immune system who start the vaccine series before 15 years of age only need two doses. Those starting the vaccine series at 15 years of age or older and anyone with a weakened immune system need three doses.

 Check out the dose schedules for more information.