Your Choice, Your Chance
Are you aged 16 to 26?
Take the opportunity to protect yourself from a common virus that can cause some cancers.
Make an appointment today with your doctor to get your free HPV immunisation.
HPV immunisation is recommended by our doctors and nurses. Here’s what some of them have to say…
“I urge young people aged 16 to 26 years that may have missed their chance previously through the school-based programme to receive this vaccine for free, to make an appointment with your doctor to get immunised. This is an excellent opportunity to reduce your cancer risk for the future,” says Dr Jim Miller, Medical Officer of Health.
“HPV is such a common infection and having an immunisation available for young people to protect themselves against future complications of the infection is so great,” says Brenda Dixon, Nurse.
What is HPV?
HPV stands for human papillomavirus, a group of very common viruses that infect about four out of five people at some time in their lives.
How do you get infected with HPV?
HPV is a very common virus that is spread through intimate skin to skin contact. Most people become infected at some time during their life. Most infections get better on their own and don’t cause any obvious problems. Sometimes they don’t get better, and can cause cell changes that can lead to cancer later in life.
What does HPV immunisation do?
It helps protect against infection by the human papillomavirus which can cause several cancers that can affect both men and women.
What cancers can HPV cause?
If left undetected, HPV can lead to cervical cancer as well as other cancers affecting the mouth, throat, vulva, vagina, cervix, penis and anus. It usually takes about 10-20 years from infection to the development of cancer.
Are there any other health effects that HPV can cause?
Some types of HPV cause genital warts. HPV immunisation also prevents HPV infections that cause genital warts in both females and males.
How do I get immunised?
Make an appointment today with your doctor to get your free HPV immunisation. As long as you have your first dose of the HPV immunisation before you turn 27 the full course will be free.
I’m aged 27 and older, can I still get HPV immunisation?
Yes, you can get immunised. If you’re outside the funded age range (9-26) you will have to pay for the vaccine which usually costs around $500 for the full 3 doses. Your doctor will be able to give you more information about this.
I’m not sure if I have already received my HPV immunisation, how can I find out?
Call your doctor, practice nurse or student health nurse and they will be able to provide you with this information.
Children who are in year 8 at school are offered the vaccine either through the school-based immunisation programme or through their family doctor if a school programme is not available.
How safe and effective is HPV immunisation?
The vaccine has an excellent safety profile. Millions of doses have now been given all over the world. As for all medicines and vaccines ongoing surveillance continues to monitor safety. The most common side effect is soreness at the injection site.
Almost all HPV infections that cause abnormal cells and cancer can be prevented by the HPV vaccine. It is highly effective.
Where can I get more information?
Contact your doctor, practice nurse or student health centre for more information.
More information is also available on the following websites:
HPV immunisation – Ministry of Health
Human papillomavirus - Immunisation Advisory Centre
For a list of general practices in the Bay of Plenty, go here.
- Read Dr Jim Miller's report on preventing cervical and head and neck cancers.