answers to some common questions people have about HPV and the HPV vaccine
Who is eligible for free immunisation?
From 1 January 2017 the HPV vaccine, GARDASIL®9, is funded for males and females aged 9 to 26 years. A charge applies for all others outside this age range.
If you are 26 then you need to start your vaccine course before your birthday to be eligible for FREE immunisation (any of the two following shots that fall after your 27th birthday will still be free).
If I am older than 26 what does the vaccine cost?
The HPV vaccine costs around $190 per dose (course of 3 doses) but costs can vary between clinics.
the HPV Vaccine
How does the HPV vaccine work?
The vaccine works by causing the body to produce its own protection (virus-fighting antibodies) against 9 types of HPV.
How long will the HPV vaccine protect me?
The vaccine has been clinically tested and shown to be effective in helping prevent HPV cancers from occurring, and is expected to offer life-long protection.
Does the HPV vaccine have any side effects?
Like any vaccine, there can be side effects. The most common are injection-site reactions like soreness, redness, swelling and in some cases mild fever. For the most part these reactions are mild and usually improve or disappear within a few days.
Why do I need to get the HPV vaccine as soon as I can?
It is important to get immunised now before you come in contact with any more HPV virus types.
How is the HPV vaccine given?
The vaccine is given to you through a series of three shots in the upper arm over a six-month period. It is very important that you get all 3 shots to get maximum protection from the immunisation.
If I get immunised do I still need to get cervical smear tests?
Yes. The vaccine does not protect against all the HPV types that could cause cervical cancer, therefore it's important that you still get regular cervical smears.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
If I'm already sexually active can I still benefit from the HPV vaccine?
If you have already been involved in sexual activity you may have already come into contact with HPV. However, it is unlikely that you will have been infected with all the 9 HPV types covered by the HPV vaccine. So there is still a great benefit in getting immunised.
Can you tell if you have HPV?
Only if you have an abnormal smear or you have developed visible genital warts, otherwise, most people who have HPV do not show signs or symptoms. This means that they can pass on the virus to others without knowing It.
Do condoms stop HPV?
The HPV virus lives in certain areas of the skin that aren't always protected by condoms. So even if you are careful you can still catch the virus.
Should my partner be immunised too?
Yes. HPV cancers are a serious risk for men and women, so if you are both immunised with the HPV vaccine then you both have the best possible protection.
Should I have the HPV vaccine if I have already had an abnormal smear or genital warts?
Studies have shown that after treatment for a cervical abnormality the risk of the abnormality reoccurring is around 12% - and the chance of genital warts reoccurring is 30%.
This reoccurrence may be due to a current HPV infection or a new HPV infection.
The HPV vaccine will help protect against these new HPV infections.
What cancers can the HPV virus cause?
Research has shown that HPV is the main cause of a number of cancers including: cervical, vaginal and anal cancers.
Sadly, a number of people undergo painful treatment or die each year from cancers caused by HPV.