HPV Vaccine (Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine)
  • HPV vaccine protects against cervical cancer in women.
  • Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women. More than one lakh new cases of cancer cervix are reported every year.
  • HPV infection causes cancer cervix, so it is a preventable cause of malignancy, by vaccination against HPV.
  • HPV infection is sexually transmitted and causes genital warts and cancer of the genital tract in women and men.
  • HPV consists of 200 different types. They are classified as low-risk and high-risk types.
  • Low-risk HPV types cause genital warts in women & men.
  • There are 14 high-risk types that are found to be the causative agents of cervical cancer.
  • HPV high-risk types cause vaginal cancer, anal cancer & penile cancer (in men).
  • HPV-infected cervical cells undergo dysplasia and then become cancerous cells.
  • Most HPV infections are self-limiting, but some persistent infection causes dysplasia and malignant transformation.
  • Malignant changes take about 10 years to develop in the cervical cells after HPV infection.
  • PAP smear screening test and HPV testing are aimed at detecting abnormal changes in 10 years.
  • This helps in detecting malignant changes early and in appropriate management.
  • HPV vaccinated women develop antibodies, and thus are at reduced risk of dysplasia & malignant changes in the cervical cells.
  • HPV vaccine has virus like particles from the capsid protein of human papilloma virus.
  • HPV vaccine is recommended in young girls from the age of 9 years and before commencing sexual activity. So, the best time for HPV vaccination is between 9 to 45 years.
  • HPV vaccination is ideal in the age group between 9 to 14 years and the vaccine can be administered till 45 years.
  • HPV vaccine covers the low-risk and high-risk types.

There are three types of vaccines:

BIVALENT vaccine – 16, 18 strains

QUADRIVALENT vaccine – 16, 18, 6, 11

NANOVALENT vaccine – 16, 18, 6, 11, 31, 33, 45, 52, 5

  • HPV vaccines are administered at gynecological/paediatric clinics. The dosage schedule will be advised according to the age group [9 – 14 years – 2 doses; > 14 years – 45 years – 3 doses].
  • HPV vaccine is not recommended after 45 years in women.
  • There are no worrisome side-effects with HPV vaccination. Mild symptoms like redness, pain & soreness at the site of the vaccine may occur.
  • Other mild side-effects such as fever and giddiness might occur, but they are transient.
  • HPV vaccine is administered intramuscularly in the upper arm (deltoid region) or thigh region.
  • HPV vaccine is contraindicated in pregnancy and any allergic reaction to previous dose of vaccine.
  • PAP smear screening test and HPV vaccination are complementary to each other, but they don’t replace each other.
  • Complete HPV vaccination schedule + 3 yearly – PAP smear screening test give 100% protection against cancer cervix.
  • Since HPV infection causes anal and vaginal cancer, HPV vaccination protects against these cancers too.
  • HPV infection in men causes penile cancer, anal cancer and oropharyngeal cancer. So, HPV vaccination is recommended for boys and young men too.
  • Let us take a pledge to prevent HPV infection by vaccination and aim for the elimination of cancer cervix.



Dr S Anitha MD (OG)

Dr S Anitha MD (OG)
Senior Consultant Gynaecologist,
Kauvery Hospital Chennai