Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and Cervical Cancer

How is HPV related to Cervical Cancer?

The majority of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV (human papillomavirus).  There are more than 100 different types of HPV but only a few types can cause cervical cancer.  HPV is a sexually transmitted virus.  Having many sexual partners or becoming sexually active early is a risk factor.

How does HPV Vaccination help to prevent cervical cancer?

The HPV vaccines currently available protect against infection caused by the aggressive HPV 16 and 18 types which are known to cause at least 70% of cervical cancers.  The vaccines may also have some cross-protection against other less common HPV types which cause cervical cancer.

Who are the vaccines for?

HPV vaccines helps protect girls and women ages 9 to 26 against cervical cancer.  The HPV vaccines work best if administered prior to exposure to HPV.  WHO recommends vaccination for girls aged 9-13 years as this is the most cost-effective public health measure against cervical cancer.

One type of HPV vaccine helps protect boys and men ages 9 to 26 against anal cancer and genital warts caused by those same HPV types.

HPV vaccines do not prevent all types of cervical cancer, so it’s important for women to continue routine cervical cancer screenings.

What are the different types of vaccine available?

Two vaccines, Gardasil-9 and Cervarix, are currently approved for use in Singapore.