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The importance of HPV vaccine and why it is recommended for girls

This Audio Job Aid features a conversation between a frontline worker named Miriam and a young girl named Aida. Miriam is promoting the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine, also known as the HPV vaccine or the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer. Miriam is making sure that girls like Aida have their questions answered before they get the vaccine.

Key Messages in AJA 8:

  • The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine is safe and is highly effective at preventing HPV infections and cervical cancer.
  • HPV is the most common sexually-transmitted infection in the world and is responsible for cervical cancer. Not all people who are infected by HPV will develop cancer, but HPV puts females at high risk for the cancer.
  • Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women living in less developed countries and often results in death because it is not detected early and treated appropriately. However, it is preventable.
  • Many people have not heard of HPV and cervical cancer, so it is important to take time to explain and answer any questions about these health issues. It also helps if the vaccine is called, “the vaccine against cervical cancer”  since more people are familiar with cancer as a disease and are more likely to know that the cervix is part of the female reproductive system.
  • More than eighty countries have introduced the vaccine against cervical cancer into their national immunization schedules  and additional countries are doing so every year. Around 270 million doses of HPV vaccine has been administered in the past 10 years worldwide.
  • The safety of the vaccine has been closely monitored and results show no safety issues and it does not affect girls’ fertility.
  • In most countries, the priority group to receive the vaccine against cervical cancer is girls ages 9-14, since this is typically prior to the debut of sexual activity.
  • If girls receive the vaccine when they are 9-14 years old, they need two doses with at least 6 months between doses. If they are 15 years old or older, 3 doses are needed.
  • Some people have concerns that the vaccine will increase sexual activity in girls. This has not been proven to be the case in multiple country evaluations.  The vaccine is more effective if provided before girls are exposed to HPV through sexual activity.
  • Many people who receive the vaccine do not experience side effects, but it is also normal to experience mild side effects  such as pain or redness at site of injection, fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, muscle or joint pain.
8. Importance of HPV Vaccine and why it’s recommended for girls