DG Recommends Vaccination Against Human Papillomavirus
09/07/2023 at 07:27 | Reading time: 2 min
Early vaccination has been recommended by the Ministry of the DG as the most effective protection against human papillomavirus (HPV). According to their statement, approximately 80% of people will become infected with HPV at some point in their lives. While many cases may not result in any symptoms or complications, HPV viruses are known to be responsible for numerous cancer diseases. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure children are easily and freely protected through HPV vaccinations.
So, what exactly is human papillomavirus, or HPV? Papillomaviruses are highly contagious viruses that infect the skin or mucous membranes. They can affect internal and external genitals, the anal area, certain areas of the skin, as well as the mouth and throat. In most cases, HPV infections do not cause any symptoms or health issues and may remain dormant or disappear spontaneously. However, some types of HPV can cause mild symptoms such as warts on the skin, including genital warts. Persistent HPV infections are problematic as they can cause tissue changes that may lead to cancer.
Following the advice of the High Health Council of Belgium, it is recommended to vaccinate all individuals aged nine to 14 against HPV. In East Belgium, the vaccine is readily available for free through all doctors and Kaleido. First-year high school students can also receive the vaccination for free through Kaleido.
How does one get infected with HPV? HPV can be transmitted from person to person through skin-to-skin contact, sharing contaminated items like towels, or through sexual contact. It is the most common sexually transmitted infection worldwide, often occurring when individuals begin their sexual lives. Young, sexually active people are at the highest risk of infection, with the risk decreasing as they age.
So, how can individuals protect themselves from HPV? Prevention is key. It is important to combine various measures, such as vaccinating young people before they become sexually active, practicing contraception, maintaining good personal hygiene, and undergoing regular check-ups. While condoms can help reduce the risk of HPV infections, they cannot completely prevent them. On the other hand, HPV vaccination provides highly effective immunity against the HPV types included in the vaccines.
The statement further concludes that Kaleido will continue to offer the vaccination in early September as part of the school examination for first-year secondary school students. For more information on HPV, visit www.ostbelgienlive.be/hpv.]
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