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HPV Prevention strategies
There are ways to reduce the risk of getting HPV, including being vaccinated against the human papillomavirus
. Limiting the number of people you have sex with is another way to reduce the risk, because having sex with a large number of people increases the risk of getting HPV infection. Using a condom during sexual intercourse cannot completely protect a person from HPV.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved two vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix, which are useful in preventing HPV infection. Gardasil helps prevent two HPV infections, which are known to cause most cases of cervical cancer and precancerous lesions in the cervix. The vaccine also prevents the infection of two low-risk HPVs, which are known to cause 90% of cases of genital warts. Gardasil has been approved for the prevention of cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in girls and women between the ages of 9 and 26, as well as for the prevention of anal cancer in women and men, and genital warts in boys and men of the same age range. Cervarix has also been approved for the prevention of cervical cancer in girls and women aged 10 to 25 years.
Because the vaccine can only prevent infection, and it cannot cure the infection, vaccination should be given before sexual activity begins. People who have been sexually active and may be infected with HPV should consult their doctor. The vaccine may protect against strains of HPV that are not infected.
In addition to using the vaccine, women should protect themselves by having a Pap smear, which is the most common test to help detect cervical cancer. By performing a Pap smear, pre-cancerous cells can be found and removed before they become cancerous. Researchers have found that combining Pap smears and tests designed to detect HPV in women can give the most accurate results. Women need to talk to their doctors about having a Pap smear, and possibly an HPV test.
The number of vaccinations
The vaccine is given three times intramuscularly.
The first dose of the vaccine may be given at any time; the second dose is given two months after the first dose and the third time six months after the first dose. It is recommended that all three vaccines be given with one type of vaccine (Gardasil or Cervarix).
It is not yet clear how much protection a person gets from one or two doses of the vaccine. That is why it is important for a person to get the vaccine every three times.In the United States, vaccination is mandatory in some states and optional in others.
Anyone who has been allergic to the previous injection of the vaccine should not take the next dose.
A: primary prevention
Like other sexually transmitted diseases, the best way to prevent it is to have reasonable and safe sex. Sexual intercourse should be avoided until the lesions are completely healed. Scraping and manipulation of lesions should be avoided, as this may transmit the infection or cause a secondary bacterial infection.
Girls and boys need to be taught to protect themselves during puberty and to be aware of high-risk behaviors, and that the principles of education should be such that young people are bound by the principles of safety in their sexual relationships.
Use a condom correctly during sexual intercourse. Latex condoms reduce the risk of genital warts. Of course, the condom does not cover the entire skin of the genital area, so it cannot prevent the transmission of the virus 100%.
B: Secondary prevention
Prior to identifying the cause of cervical cancer (HPV), it was possible to prevent cervical cancer by performing a Pap smear, which was actually secondary to diagnosing the early stages of the disease and eradicating the lesions before they became cancerous.
In this procedure, which is a cervical mucosal removal procedure, cellular changes are detected before the invasive cancer stage. However, this test has 20 to 30 percent false negatives (about 20-30% of cases may not be diagnosed, which can reduce the recurrence of false negatives). Therefore, it is recommended that this test be performed every year for up to three years after marriage, and if the test is negative (normal), the intervals be increased to once every 2-3 years. Thus, due to the time required to convert precancerous changes into cervical cancer, which is about 10 years, performing this test with this timeline will distinguish the disease from its early stages. This screening method in developed countries has reduced the risk of cervical cancer by 75%, but in developing countries due to lack of knowledge about the virus, screening has not been very effective and currently 80% of deaths from uterine cancer in Developing countries are happening. Pap smears often lead to the diagnosis of most, not all, cervical cancers in the early stages.
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