Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) globally. HPV can cause genital warts and cancers of the cervix, anus, mouth and throat, penis, vagina, and vulva. It is estimated that HPV is responsible for 4.5% of all new cancer cases worldwide. HPV vaccines protect against infection from certain types of HPV, however, vaccination will not clear an infection once it has occurred. Therefore, vaccination prior to exposure to HPV is the most effective way to prevent infection. It is estimated universal HPV vaccination could prevent between 70% – 90% of HPV related disease.
In 2008, BC commenced publicly funded, school-based HPV vaccination with the quadrivalent (HPV4) vaccine for girls in grade 6 and a catch-up program for girls in grade 9. HPV4 protected against HPV types 6 and 11 (responsible for genital warts) and types 16 and 18, responsible for 70% of all cervical cancer cases. Over a decade into the provincial public HPV vaccination program, there is strong evidence from around the world that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing cancer.
HPV vaccination has evolved since program commencement, and we now have the opportunity to protect individuals on a broader scale against HPV infection. The public program now provides the 9-valent (HPV9) vaccine, which provides protection against 5 additional types not originally available in the HPV4 vaccine. Starting in 2017, the immunization program has offered the HPV9 to all grade 6 students— 6 boys, as well as girls. In addition, publicly available HPV9 vaccination is currently available to: HIV positive individuals 9-26 years of age; males 9-26 years of age who have sex with men or are street involved; and transgender individuals 9-26 years of age.
For the complete guidelines please see: http://www.bccdc.ca/resource-gallery/Documents/Guidelines%20and%20Forms/Guidelines%20and%20Manuals/Epid/CD%20Manual/Chapter%202%20-%20Imms/Part4/HPV9.pdf