What is HPV Vaccination?

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Every year, March 4 is observed as International HPV Awareness Day.

What is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?

  • HPV is a group of more than 200 related viruses, of which more than 40 are spread through direct sexual contact.
  • Among these, two HPV types cause genital warts, and about a dozen HPV types can cause certain types of cancer.
  • More than 95% of cervical cancer is caused by the HPV virus.
  • Transmission:
    • It is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) globally. 
    • It also spreads through skin-to-skin contact. 
  • Once infected, most people do not develop any symptoms, thereby not being aware that they have the virus.
  • Most of the time, the body can find and clear out HPV. But if the virus stays in the body for a long time, it can cause cancer.
  • Getting vaccinated against HPV helps prevent cancer in men and women.
  • HPV Vaccination:
    • The HPV vaccine is a series of shots that can protect you from an HPV infection. 
    • It prevents HPV infections that can progress to cancer or genital warts.
    • The HPV vaccination is more efficacious if given between the age group of 9-26 years.
    • Once a person gets HPV, the vaccine may not be as effective.
    • The HPV vaccine isn't given during pregnancy.

Q1) What is a Virus?

A virus is an infectious microbe consisting of a segment of nucleic acid (either DNA or RNA) surrounded by a protein coat. A virus cannot replicate alone; instead, it must infect cells and use components of the host cell to make copies of itself. Often, a virus ends up killing the host cell in the process, causing damage to the host organism. Well-known examples of viruses causing human disease include AIDS, COVID-19, measles and smallpox.

Source: A vaccine that prevents six cancers