Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

About the HPV vaccine

  • Gardasil®9, or HPV-9, is the current HPV vaccine administered in the Yukon.
  • Depending on the person’s age or risk of contracting HPV, either two or three doses of the vaccine are required.
  • The HPV-9 vaccine helps protect both males and females against 9 types of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection.
  • For females, the HPV-9 vaccine helps protect against:
    • cervical cancer;
    • vaginal cancer;
    • vulvar cancer;
    • anal cancer;
    • throat cancer;
    • and genital warts.
  • For males, the HPV-9 vaccine helps protect against:
    • anal cancer;
    • throat cancer; and
    • genital warts.

  • The HPV-9 vaccine is approved for use in both males and females.
  • It’s usually provided free in schools starting when children are in Grade 6.
  • HPV immunization is most effective when it is administered before an individual is sexually active.
  • People who missed an HPV vaccination will be able to access the HPV-9 vaccine for free up to and including age 26. Certain high risk populations can also access this vaccine for free.
  • If a Yukoner has not received the vaccine in school, or has not received the required doses of the vaccine, they will be able to call their local health centre or local pharmacy to make an appointment.
  • HPV is a common virus spread mainly through sexual contact.
  • HPV infection is related to almost all cases of cervical cancer, 80 to 90 per cent of anal cancers, 40 per cent of vaginal and vulvar cancers, 40 to 50 per cent of penile cancers, 25 to 35 per cent of mouth and throat cancers and over 90 per cent of genital warts.
  • The risk of HPV infection occurs when sexual activity begins. About 3 out of 4 sexually active people will get HPV at some point in their lifetime.
  • Most people infected with HPV do not show any signs or symptoms and can pass the virus onto others without even knowing it.
  • There is no treatment or cure for an HPV infection, but most often it will clear on its own. If HPV does not go away, the infected cells are at risk of becoming cancerous over time.
  • There are certain groups of individuals who are at higher risk of contracting HPV infection, such as those who are:
  • HIV positive;
  • transgender;
  • are homeless or involved in behaviours associated with street culture;
  • men who have sex with men.
  • The HPV vaccine is the best way to protect against HPV and its complications.
  • HPV infection is highly associated with many cancers; getting this vaccine helps prevent these cancers.
  • Vaccines are most effective prior to being exposed to infection. HPV vaccine is routinely given in early childhood prior to the age of being sexually active.
  • When you or your child get vaccinated, you help protect the spread to others too.
  • This immunization is free in the Yukon to the groups listed above, and available for purchase to those who do not meet the age criteria.
  • Common reactions to the vaccine may include redness, tenderness, and swelling at the injection site. Some may develop a fever, headache, fatigue, or digestive problems. These are generally mild and last 1-2 days.
  • Side effects of the vaccine are easily relieved by applying a cold and damp compress to the site and administering acetaminophen or ibuprofen for temperatures 38.5°C or higher.
  • See your health care provider if your symptoms are severe or last longer than 48 hours.
  • It is important to stay in the clinic for 15 minutes after getting any immunization because there is a rare possibility of developing a severe allergic reaction which is treatable at the clinic. This happens to less than 1 in 1 million people. If it happens after you leave the clinic, call 911 or the local emergency number. If you or your child experiences any serious or unexpected reactions, contact your physician and report all severe reactions to one of the nurses at your local Health Centre.

Potential allergens include:

  • polysorbate 80; and
  • yeast protein.

Find out how to get immunized