Human Papilloma Virus: Why Is Vaccination Recommended for Men?

    It is estimated that 90% of the world population has contact with this disease

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    The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a very common sexually transmitted infection in the world. It is estimated that 90% of the population has contact with the disease. In addition, it is proven that it is one of the main causes of cervical cancer. Since 2019, in Costa Rica, the vaccine has been introduced into the mandatory scheme, aimed at girls between the ages of 9 and 10.

    Now, why do experts recommend that men be vaccinated? “Both men and women are carriers of the virus; both sexes can get sick. It has been associated, given how the vaccine was brought for women, which is the only vulnerable population and it is not like that”, explained the doctor, Rita Peralta, from the Adolescent Clinic of the Calderón Guardia Hospital.

    According to the HPV and Cancer Information Center, there is growing evidence that the virus is a relevant factor in anogenital cancers (anus, vulva, vagina, and penis), and head and neck cancer. “At the clinic we have girls who are 15 years old and already infected with the virus, but the truth is that men do not consult for these reasons, nor do they seek preventive programs. Institutionally, there is no screening program and the offer of services that make these young people see the importance of protecting themselves against HPV is very poor”, said the doctor.

    In statistical data

    According to the incidence rate of cancer associated with HPV in 2020, per 100,000 inhabitants, the following data is shown:

    It is estimated that there are more than 120 types of human papillomavirus. Being HPV types 16 and 18, responsible for 70% of all cancer cases in the world. “A person who gets HPV will see symptoms in 10 years; that is to say, if an adolescent acquires it and does not manage to overcome the infection before they are 30 years of age, they may be suffering from complications, which is why the call for prevention ”, added Peralta. In addition, the 2020 data indicates that 192 women died from cervical cancer and 367 new cases were detected.

    Vaccination plan

    According to experts, the vaccine that is applied at the public level protects against 4 strains of the papilloma virus; 2 are against cancer and 2 against the formation of warts. “Immunization is being sought since they are girls because ideally they have not had sexual contact and this guarantees a greater efficacy of the vaccine to prevent and prevent the virus from producing a lesion at the cellular level that produces cancer”, said the expert. She also highlighted that with the cases analyzed, it is known that a young woman is more likely to be infected more easily, compared to an adult woman.

    But she has the benefit of her that, in a period of 2 years, the body can cure that infection. “What is the problem? A young woman with HPV having multiple sexual partners; then, she can be infected with other types different from the one she had and then the body cannot fight against this infection”, clarified the doctor. “Cervical cancer may be preventable through early vaccination”, she emphasized.

    Since 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the global strategy to accelerate the elimination of this cancer and is based on 3 pillars:

    1. Vaccination of 90% of girls before the age of 15
    2. Performance of a high-quality screening test (HPV test), at least 2 times in life
    3. Adequate treatment of all lesions and cancers detected

    In Costa Rica, vaccination against the virus began at the public level in 2019 for girls between the ages of 10 and 14. And the full scheme is two doses. The second 6 months after the first. According to the recorded data, it looks like this:

    •2019> 1st dose: 98% – 2nd dose: 95%

    •2020> 1st dose: 85% – 2nd dose: 75%

    •2021> 1st dose: 55.3% – 2nd dose: 42.1%

    •2022> 1st dose: 73.7% – 2nd dose: 68.7%

    “The efforts in vaccination campaigns allowed the percentage to increase compared to 2021. Since the pandemic and all the restrictions, it has been difficult to reach those girls who have not started or have pending doses”, said LeandraAbarca, from the CCSS.

    Private doses

    At the public level, the vaccine is only offered to girls. However, there is an option to apply it in the private field. “There are 2 private vaccines; one pentavalent and the other quadrivalent, both of which prevent the formation of cervical cancer. And there is also access to immunize children”, said Roberto Arroba, representative of the Ministry of Health.

    According to the expert, in 2022 a vaccine that protects from 9 strains was entered privately, that is, it covers almost all the serotypes of the virus that cause cancer. “The indications for the vaccine range from 9 years to 45 years. If the person has the virus and has not developed cancer, the application is recommended to prevent, but always under the guidance of a doctor who performs complete studies”, he recommended.

    Resonance Costa Rica
    At Resonance, we aspire to live in harmony with the natural world as a reflection of our gratitude for life. Visit and subscribe at Resonance Costa Rica Youtube Channel

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