Evewoman : Why every Kenyan woman should get the HPV vaccine

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Why every Kenyan woman should get the HPV vaccine

The government has rolled out HPV vaccination for girls aged 10. The vaccine prevents one from getting cervical cancer.

A number of women politicians have argued that by choosing to vaccinate school going girls, and those who are within the targeted age group only, women who also need the vaccine are locked out. The leaders argue that this leaves the women at risk of getting the virus and getting cervical cancer. However, the vaccine is highly effective when administered to children from the age of 10 before they become sexually active.

Anyone who is sexually active is at a risk of getting the human papillomavirus (HPV) as it is a sexually transmitted infection. HPV is linked to cervical cancer.

The HPV vaccine helps in the production of HP- virus-fighting antibodies.

When the HPV vaccine is administered, the body tries to respond to the vaccination by creating antibodies to fight the virus. The antibodies are meant to protect you against HPV infections.

During pre-teen years, many children have stronger immune responses to the HPV vaccine.

When to get vaccinated

The vaccine is more effective when given in two shot series that are given within a period of six month and must be completed before kids become sexually active.

The earlier one gets vaccinated, the better.

Even though 11 is the recommended age for children to get vaccinated for HPV, getting the vaccine earlier, starting from the age of 9, especially if the family has a history of cervical cancer, is highly advisable.

If there is a long family history of cervical cancer, it is advisable to talk to your pediatrician or doctor about what steps should be taken before getting the vaccine.

HPV can cause cancer and is incurable. Majority of HPV infections tend to clear up on their own within a period of two years without causing any long term consequences.

However, in some instances the infection does not clear up on its own. Due to the fact that there is no cure for it, the virus tends to put women at risk of getting serious health problems including cervical cancer and genital warts.

Over 27,000 men and women are affected by cancers like cervical cancer, penile cancer, throat cancer and vulvar cancer every year which are all linked to HPV.

Most of the cancers that are caused by HPV can be prevented by vaccinating young children before they become sexually active.

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Contracting HPV

HPV can be contracted when one is having their first sexual encounter or at any point when they are sexually active. HPV has become common and one can get it from a single sexual partner.

The fact that it has few visible symptoms, many people never know when they are infected. This makes it even harder for their partners to also know if they are also infected. As thus preventing it by getting vaccinated is important.

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The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Evewoman.co.ke

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