Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a family of very common and contagious viruses. 75% of Canadians will be infected by HPV at least once in their lifetime. Strains of the virus can cause genital warts and many different types of cancer. Almost 100% of cervical cancer cases are caused by HPV.
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in Canada. Unfortunately, most sexually active people who have HPV are unaware that they have it, so the infection is often passed on to partners without even knowing it.
Younger immune systems respond better to HPV immunization. Research shows that the best immune response to the vaccine occurs before sexual activity begins. The HPV vaccine has been well-researched, is safe and most effective before exposure to the virus.
The HPV vaccine is offered to all Grade 7 students in Ontario as part of the provincial school-based HPV vaccination program. For the 2016/2017 school year, the HPV vaccine will be offered to Grade 8 girls in Ontario so they do not miss the opportunity to receive the HPV vaccine for free.
The immunization program for the HPV vaccine started in the 2007-2008 school year. The HPV vaccine can help prevent cancer and to save lives. The decision today to sign the immunization consent form will reduce the risk of developing numerous types of HPV-related cancers later in life.
More information about HPV and the HPV vaccine:
Canadian Cancer Society
Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
British Columbia Centre for Disease Control
Ontario Ministry of Health