Happy International HPV Awareness Day, everyone! Today is all about spreading knowledge and encouraging prevention against one of the most prevalent and harmful sexually transmitted infections. And what better way to help contribute than by discussing the new HPV vaccination programme in the Netherlands?
So first things first – what exactly is HPV? HPV stands for human papillomavirus, and it is a very common virus that is spread through sexual contact. In fact, it is so common that it is estimated that around 8 out of 10 of sexually active people, will be infected with the virus at some point in their lives. While most HPV infections are asymptomatic, cause no harm, and clear up on their own, some types of the virus can lead to serious health problems, including genital warts and cancer.
In particular, there are certain strains of HPV that can lead to cancer, including cervical, anal, penile, and throat cancer. Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, and HPV is responsible for almost all cases. By getting vaccinated, you can reduce your risk of developing HPV-related cancers and protect your health and well-being.
The new vaccination programme is a welcome development in the fight against HPV-related cancers. The programme is offered for free in 2023 to people born between 1 January 1996 and 31 December 2003 and the vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart. It protects against six strains of HPV, including the two strains that are responsible for around 70% of cervical cancer cases. The vaccine is also effective against other types of cancer, including anal, penile, and throat cancer.
There has been some controversy surrounding HPV vaccination in the past, with some groups questioning the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine. However, extensive research has shown that the vaccine used in the Dutch vaccination programme (Cervarix®) is safe and highly effective at preventing HPV-related diseases.
In addition, let’s not overlook additional means to prevent cancer and HPV. Practicing safe sex, such as using condoms, can only help by lowering your risk of getting HPV. Condoms don’t protect you fully from HPV because the virus also spreads via the hands, fingers, mouth, and vagina. On the other hand, getting regular Pap tests or anal Pap tests can aid significantly in the detection of any HPV-related issues and cancer early on.
So this International HPV Awareness Day, let’s take some time to educate ourselves and others around us about HPV and the value of prevention. And if you’re a young person in the Netherlands, think about benefiting from the free HPV vaccination programme in 2023. It’s a quick and simple way to protect yourself against a potentially fatal virus. Let’s maintain our health and get informed, together.
Schedule now your vaccination appointment via the link: https://hpvafspraak.nl
The vaccine is offered for free to people born between 1 January 2023 and 31 December 2003 only this year. Due to the fact that there should be at least 5 months between the two vaccine injections, please make sure to get your first injection before June 2023.