A vaccine is available and recommended for gay and bisexual men of all ages for the prevention of HPV. Gardasil® protects against HPV infection caused by the four most common strains of the virus, while the newly released Gardasil® 9 protects against five additional cancer-causing strains. (from getgarded.ca)
What is HPV?
HPV is Human Papillomavirus – a common sexually transmitted infection linked to development of genital warts and cancer in both men and women. It is very easily passed by oral, anal, and genital sexual contact. While the risk to women is talked about more often, HPV is widespread among all adults, especially gay and bisexual men.
In most cases, HPV infection does not have any signs or symptoms, and may clear up on its own. There are over 150 different types of HPV, and only a few of these are known to cause health problems.
What are GARDASIL and GARDASIL9?
GARDASIL, and the newly updated Gardasil 9, is vaccine administered via injection to help protect against the most common types of HPV that are linked with genital warts and cancers. Cervical cancer is the most common type of cancer caused by HPV, but it can also cause a variety of other cancers, including anal, oral, throat, and penile cancers in men. Gardasil provides protection from the four most common strains of HPV, while Gardasil 9 covers five additional cancer-causing types.
This vaccine is typically administered to girls and women between 9 and 26 years old, but is also used for men who have sex with men. Its use helps prevent the following diseases in men:
- Genital warts
- Anal cancer
- Precancerous lesions
- Anal intraepithelial neoplasia
It’s important to note that neither Gardasil® or Gardasil® 9 are a treatment or cure for existing HPV infection. However, even if you have been infected with HPV, getting vaccinated will protect you from getting the other commonly identified HPV types that you have not been infected with.
As part of your routine health care, you should seek out medical attention if you experience any unusual signs or symptoms in the anus, such as unexplained pain or bleeding, regardless of whether or not you’ve been vaccinated. Talk to your doctor about getting a digital ano-rectal examination (DARE) done as part of your regular check-up or when getting tested for HIV or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s an easy and free tool available to all doctors, so bring this up at your next visit!
Where can I get GARDASIL?
Taken from our getgarded.ca page (click through for expanded resources)
Canada’s leading authority on vaccination policy, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), has recommended Gardasil® for gay and bisexual men of all ages. It is expected that a NACI recommendation regarding Gardasil® 9 will be issued before the end of 2015.
Gardasil® and Gardasil® 9 are currently available to gay and bisexual men at most pharmacies in BC. No prescription is required, although if you have an extended health insurance plan that covers the cost of your vaccination, you will need a prescription from your doctor. Vaccination involves getting 3 shots over a period of about 6 months.
More information on GARDASIL, GARDASIL9 and how to access it can be found on getgarded.ca, or you can contact us here at HUSTLE for more information (firstname.lastname@example.org)