HPV vaccine for adults differs from one given to teenage girls

Re: Women offered HPV vaccine, April 12.

To the Editor,

Re: Women offered HPV vaccine, April 12.

Options for Sexual Health is pleased that the B.C. Centre for Disease Control has announced a new HPV vaccination program for young women aged 19-21 years old.

I would, however, like to clarify the details surrounding the vaccine.

Women who will be taking advantage of the catch-up vaccination program will not receive the same HPV vaccine that girls have been receiving in B.C. schools since 2008.

The new one-time catch-up program for women 19-21 years old protects against cervical cancer in women only.

The HPV vaccination program operating in Canadian schools since 2008 for girls provides not only the same protection against cervical cancer, but also protects against vulvar cancer, vaginal cancer, and very importantly, anal cancer and genital warts in men and women.

It is well-known that genital warts place a significant burden on the individual and the health care system in both men and women.

Genital warts are not covered in the newly announced catch-up HPV vaccine program.

Men are not included in any publicly funded vaccination program for HPV in Canada.

For more information, please go to www.hpvinfo.ca or e-mail: info@optbc.org.

Dr. Unjail Malhotra

Options for Sexual Health B.C.