HPV Vaccine for Men and Women – Go get it!!!

It is not often in medicine there comes along something that makes Doctors go ‘This is great! Everyone should get this!’

The Gardasil HPV Vaccine is one such thing.

By the end of this article, I hope you are so convinced that you are running out the door to get vaccinated.

Let’s start by understanding what HPV is. HPV is a virus that is spread through direct contact. i.e. skin to skin contact, sexual contact including vaginal sex, oral sex, anal sex, even handjobs. Basically any sexual contact and condoms offer zero protection against HPV.

Among other things, it causes genital warts. For those of you who have not suffered from genital warts before, you might not fully appreciate the mental anguish and anxiety it brings. For those of you who have, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Genital warts are these really ugly fleshy looking things that can grow around your pubic area, penis, vagina, anus and basically everywhere down south. They are ugly, embarrassing and very difficult to get rid of. Treatment usually involves multiple sessions of painful laser or freezing treatments. Even then, warts can still recur and are even deemed to be ‘incurable’. A newer treatment has come onto the market called Podofilm, which has been shown to be very effective in dealing with genital warts. Our patients often favour this technique as it is quick and simple with remarkably little discomfort and only requires s few sessions for completion.

There used to be nothing we can do to prevent Genital Warts. But now, we have the HPV Vaccine called Gardasil. Gardasil is unique from its competitors in that it provides some protection against Genital warts.

So isn’t taking 3 jabs worth it to protect yourselves from this terrible disease?

Still not convinced? Well, here’s more.

HPV has also been linked to the dreaded Cervical Cancer.

Cervical cancer is the 4th most common cancer among women in Singapore and 3rd most common in the world.

PAP smears are only useful in detecting the cancer early but does nothing to prevent it. If a woman is lucky enough to detect the problem in pre-cancer stages, she only has to undergo a minor surgery to remove a chunk of her cervix. If the cancer is detected in its late stages treatment involves major surgery to remove the entire womb, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Even with all these treatments and their terrible side effects, the prognosis is not always good.

So which would you rather have? 3 injections or cancer?

Still not convinced? Boy you are a hard sell.

HPV has also been linked to vaginal and vulval cancer in women, throat and anal cancer in both men and women and penile cancer in men.

So men and women who practice oral sex and/or anal sex are at risk. Funnily enough, and we do not know why, men are more at risk of throat cancer when they perform oral sex on a woman than vice versa. Go figure.

So regardless of sexual orientation, everyone benefits from a HPV vaccine.

Phew that was along article. Let’s summarize, HPV is real easy to catch. It can lead to Genital Warts, Cervical Cancer, Vaginal Cancer, Vulval Cancer, Anal Cancer and even Penile Cancer. The only way you can protect yourself is to get vaccinated with the Gardasil vaccine.

So go get vaccinated now!

If you are interested in getting the HPV vaccine or learning more, please visit Our Clinics.

advise


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Related Topics:

Common Lumps and Bumps – Warts

Perianal Warts

Genital Warts (Human Papilloma Virus)

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Cost of HIV/STD Tests at our Clinic

About Dr. Tan
Dr. Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His residency was in the two largest public hospitals in Singapore; Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.

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99 Comments

  1. Hi Dr,

    I had taken 2 jabs of the HPV cervical and only to realise it does not cover the genital warts like the gardasil. In this case, am I able to take gardasil or will that cause any side effect? Hope to hear from you soon. Thanks!

    • Hi Grace, yes you can take the gardasil vaccine even if you have started taking cervarix (the other HPV vaccine).

  2. Hi Dr Tan,

    I had taken the hpv cervical jab but only to realize it only covers 2 types instead of the 4 types like gardasil. Would like to ask if its alright to take gardasil since theres no protection against genital warts or what should I do about it?

  3. Hi, last week, I had sex with a sex worker – both protected vaginal, fingering, and receiving oral from her, it has been a week, currently feeling very remorseful. I would like to ask if there is no visible HPV outbreak or symptoms shown in the next 1-2 weeks or even up to a month, would the HPV vaccination be an equally effective protection as someone who has not had sex before ? (I.e. would having the vaccination now prevent me from having any HPV even after my first sexual encounter?). If there are indeed HPV in my body, would having the vaccine now prevent or reduce any HPV outbreak from occurring or spread?

    I’m aware of the 4 protection the vaccine provides. If having the vaccine early before any outbreak occurs would prevent me from any herpes warts then I will try to get it asap rather than wait 1 month to do the whole STD test along with it.

    Also, could I also be possibly spreading HPV before or after the vaccination through sharing of food/drink/utensils/kiss/normal skin contact?

    It’s really hard to live with your loved ones when you know of the thought that you could possibly be exposed to HPV in your body 🙁

    Thank you very much.

    • Yes you could be infected with HPV. Assuming you are male, there is really no reliable test to do. Click here for more info on HPV testing in men. Getting a HPV vaccine now would neither guarantee prevention nor reduction of any outbreaks. It may reduce the risk of recurrence of outbreaks.

  4. Elijah Ng

    Hi,

    I was diagnosed with peri anal warts from HPV and I would like to know more about Podofilm procedure and how much will it cost? I know that clearing the warts i have now, the chances of recurrence is still there and if it comes back, I will still have to treat it again and I dont really want to do that…should I leave my warts untreated and wait 6 months for potential new warts to surface from the existing virus before doing the podofilm or freezing treatment.

    • Dr Justin Sim

      Podofilm is a safe and effective procedure to remove warts. The lotion is applied directly to the warts and over a week period the decrease in size. Several applications may be needed over a few weeks but this is assessed each time. It is best to treat warts the moment you see them because waiting for more to appear makes them harder to treat and potentially more infectious. Treat early and you limit further problems down the line.

  5. If I took my 1st dose last year…and skipped the rest. Do I need to retake all 3 dose again this year?

  6. Mickey

    Hi Dr. Tan, I am a 25 year-old Taiwanese working in Singapore. I am wondering can I have the HPV vaccine in your clinic also? Does it cost the same price as a foreigner(3 injections and consultant fee in total $481.5+37 with GST)?
    On the other hand, If I already have a same vaccine with one injection in Taiwan, can I have the rest two doses in your clinic. (The vaccine I have in Taiwan is also made from MSD company against for hob 6, 11, 16 and 18) Thanks!

    • Dr Justin Sim

      Yes absolutely. The HPV vaccine is not restricted so you can have the vaccine as well. The cost is universal being the price you state. If you have already had 1 dose of the vaccine in Taiwan then you can get the remaining with us at the corrected cost. This won’t be a problem.

  7. Dr. tan

    Wanna ask whether hpv can be spread from Handjob eventhough the provider were fully clothed? And did not touch her genital.

    Thanks
    Eddie

      • Hi, is the vaccine still recommended for someone who has recently received treatment for CIN1/2? Has it been shown to reduce the rate of recurrence?

        • If you have had CIN 1/2, you most likely have HPV 16/18. The vaccine may not have additional benefit in terms of protection against HPV 16/18 but it can still protect you from HPV 6/11 which cause genital warts. Therefore, it is still worth getting vaccinated.

  8. hi dr tan I read that gardasil is only protection against 6, 11, 16 and 18. My recent test found out that I have high risk hpv and 16, 18 and 45 are tested negative. Does that mean that it is pointless for my next partner to go for gardasil vaccine?

    • Gardasil protects against 6, 11, 16 and 18 but has also cross protection against many other types. Because of this, your partner will still benefit from vaccination.

  9. I’m 26 this just pass my birthday. I was wondering if I’m eligible for the vaccine to be covered using medisave in your clinic

    • Sorry. CPF rule is you must take this vaccine before your 26th Birthday to be able to use Medisave. I definitely still encourage you to take the vaccine but unfortunately it will be out of pocket costs for you. We charge $150 ($160.50 with GST) per injection.

      • Do i have to finish the 3 vaccine before my 26th birthday? or as long i start the 1st vaccine before my 26th, im eligible to claim medisave?

  10. Hi doctor, i am a male ,25years of age. Back in the year 2010 i went for a routine visit to my gp about a possible fungal infection that i was having. I was having a slight temperature and the doctor told me the my lymph nodes were swollen throughout especially at the groin area and neck. He checked me up and gave me a antifungals medication. Afterwards he recommended me to take a jab that would prevent genital warts and penile and throat cancer. It was the gardasil vaccine. I kind of didn’t know anything about it and trusted my doctor and went ahead with it. Upon taking the vaccine i have had tremendous and varying symptoms all over my body. From digestive to pain throughout my joints as well as neurological symptoms and a recently diagnosed postural orthostatic tarchydia syndrome. I have been going from specialist to specialist trying to get answers and a diagnosis.

    i have now turned to natural therapies for detox and nutrition. i was amazed at the test that were carried out. The test pointed out to vaccine damage to the immune system and an overactive immune system . Have also developed many new allergies which were absent before vaccination.

    i was also surprised at the number of people like me in singapore. My naturopathy doctor is also treating 5 others like me who took the gardasil vaccine. (3 girls 2 guys)

    He is beginning a treatment to detox the vaccine ingredients especially aluminum out of my system. It seems that gardasil has been touted as a possible dangerous vaccine in america with too many adverse reactions attributed to it. In many countries such as india, japan the vaccine is no longer pushed upon patients but patients now are given the option to take it.
    My plea is for people to be more aware of the possible adverse reactions and then have an individual decision to take it , instead of being forced upon them. Thank you

    Doctor what is your take on this vaccine as many many seem to be harmed by it. Thank you

    • drtan

      I am very sorry to hear of what happened to you. I do not want to get into a discussion of linking adverse reactions to drugs etc. I do want to say that I completely agree with you that everyone reacts differently to medicines and vaccines. It is the doctor’s job to have a thorough discussion of pros and cons before making a decision on therapy.

  11. Hi, since u mention medisave cover for woman >26 yrs old. So is it cover full 100% of the 3 jabs?

    • < 26. NOT > 26. She can draw up to $400 per year for the vaccines. Whether or not it covers 100% depends on the price at individual clinics. For our clinic, she will still be out of pocket about $100.

  12. Hi, for Gardasil, is there a consultation cost in addition to $450 ($481.50 with GST)?
    Thanks!

    • There will be a consultation charge only for the first visit. Consult $35 ($37 with GST).

  13. Yaping

    Hi Dr Tan,

    I will like to ask how much does the gardasil cost? And for my mum age around 45, does having gardasil jab for her at this age helps? Thank you!

    • We charge $150 per injection ($160.50 with GST). There are a total of 3 injections i.e. $450 ($481.50 with GST). When I look at the risk:benefit ratio I think it still makes sense to get the vaccine regardless of age. However, I must point out to you that most countries do have a cut off age of 45.

  14. Hi Dr Tan,

    May I ask whether does medisave covers for the gardasil vaccine for your clinic?

    • Yes but only for women > 26 years old.

      • Tan Bi Wen

        Hi Dr Tan
        If I understand correctly, you mean that medisave will cover women < 26 years old. I turned 26 in June, so does his mean that I cannot claim my medisave for the HPV vaccine anymore?

        • Hi, medisave will cover for women age between 9 – 26 years old for the HPV vaccines. In order to be eligible to claim from medisave, you have to have the vaccines before your 27th birthday. There will be a yearly cap of $400. In your case, you can still claim for the vaccines using your medisave until you reach your 27th birthday.

          • Hi, so as long as we take the vacinne before our 27 birthday,we can claim from medisave?

          • Yes that’s right. The vaccines have to be taken before your 27th Birthday for you to claim it from your Medisave.

  15. Hi DR tan,

    Am I allowed to take only the 3rd jab of gardasil in your clinic after having already taken the first two jabs in another country?

    • Of course. No problems. Just let me know when the 1st 2 shots were given.

  16. Glenn

    Hi Dr. Tan, I have HPV virus strain 11 and 53. The doctor prescribed me Gardasil (I had my first jab already) but explained that Gardasil covers only the 4 most common strains i.e. 6, 11, 16 and 18. I wonder if there is anything I could do about clearing strain 53? Also, what are the health implications of strain 53 and the doctor explained it is categorized as “Unknown risk HPV genotypes”. Thanks in advance.

    • drtan

      You are mistaken. Gardasil does not ‘clear’ HPV. It is a vaccine. Furthermore, I assume you are male and as far as I know, aside from anal swabs and sending skin warts for cytology, there are no approved tests for HPV in men. Please post any follow up questions on http://www.askdrtan.com

  17. Atlantis Leong

    Dear Dr Tan,

    I have a similar situation as INZ but I do not have genital warts or any sorts.

    What happens is that the doctor that I went to explained that he would give me the vaccination(Gadarsil) that covers the 4 strains but he administered me with Cervavix instead when I went for the 1st jab.

    He refused to rectify his mistake. So instead of giving me the full 3 doses of Gadarsil, he said that he will proceed to replaced the so-called “2nd & 3rd dose” with Gardasil. I have also consulted another doctor which agrees that I should be given a new Gadarsil regime instead.

    What can I do now? The clinic has already deducted the payment for the jabs. I am on the verge of reporting the case to Singapore Medical Council. As the Clinic is also the Panel Clinics for HDB, I will be reporting this “fraud” to my company as well.

    But what concerns me is that I feel that i am not protected because I did not complete my any of the vaccinations and I know what the doctor did is not right. He is not providing me with the correct treatment. I feel cheated by the doctor as he has no responsibility in his job. How can a doctor provide such a sub-standard treatment to his patients? Isn’t there any kind of principle, as a doctor, you should uphold?
    I could not be any more disappointed as I am already am.

    Please help advise what I should do now in order to complete my Gadarsil jab? Thanks.

    • drtan

      I am very sorry to hear of what happened to you. You have had 2 injections of Gardasil which I assume are 4 to 5 months apart. You can take the 3rd dose within 1 year of receiving your 1st dose of Gardasil and this will complete your Gardasil vaccination. The recommendation by MSD is as long as a person completes 3 Gardasil injections within 1 year, the vaccination is complete and effective. Please post any follow up questions on http://www.askdrtan.com

      • Atlantis Leong

        Thanks for the prompt reply, Dr Tan!

        maybe i did not clarify properly.. but up till now i had only been given 1 dose of gardarsil. would you please advise if i should be getting the 2nd & 3rd dose of gardarsil according to the normal gardarsil regime(0,2,6) ?

        • drtan

          Would appreciate if you can ask follow up questions on http://www.askdrtan.com. This platform makes it very difficult for me to follow up on conversation threads.

  18. I have genital warts. I got the cervarix fisrt shot last month. After reading about Gardasl, I feel like getting it and that sounds better. How can I get it done Dr. Tan? I will be 26 end of the year (December)

    • There are pros and cons to both vaccines. But I agree with you that only Gardasil covers for the HPV strains that cause warts. Although not officially indicated you can actually get both vaccines. In other words complete your Cervarix then start the Gardasil regime. Alternatively, abandon the Cervarix regime and start on Gardasil. No harm either way. Please post any follow up questions on http://www.askdrtan.com

  19. Forgot to mention I have done hpv dna digene hc2 test in march 2012, result negative no hpv dna detected. I know this is only for high risk. I m worried for havingwarts that I don know cos it is ddifficult to see.

    Thanks

  20. Hi Dr Tan

    Happy new year!
    I would like to know if the hpv test in your clinic for hpv strain 6 and 11 which cause genital warts? I m interested to know if I have genital warts.
    Btw I m female.

    Thank you

    • HPV tests have only been verified for cervical and anal sampling (i.e not verified for skin sampling to test for warts). And only for high risk cancer causing types. There are many strains of HPV aside from 6 and 11 that can cause warts. There is no reliable test for these. If you do not have warts, do not worry. If you think you have warts, see your doctor to confirm the diagnosis and get them treated.

  21. Hi Dr Tan,

    Does the HPV vaccine contains HPV virus which is not live? I understand that for Hep A and B vaccine, the vaccine actually contain “not live” virus so that our body can react to it. I thought maybe HPV vaccine works similarly.

    • Very good question. Gardasil is a recombinant vaccine. In other words, it is comprised of genetic material made from engineered viruses. It is not a ‘Live’ virus like the Yellow Fever vaccine. In other words, there is no risk of infection from the vaccine and even people with compromised immune systems can take it.

  22. Hi doc,

    How to get HPV tested for guys? For someone who has had no recent sexual activity, is it stillrecommended to get tested?
    Do they cause any symptoms apart from warts? And secondly does this vaccine help if I have the infection already, does it help suppression?

    thanks

    • The only 2 sites validated for HPV testing are the cervix and anus. They are associated with cancer. People who already have genital warts will still benefit from the vaccine as it will protect them from other strains of HPV.

  23. Thank you doctor. Does your clinic provide hpv test? Can it differentiate the types if certain types are positive? Can i take the vaccine and get it check at the same time? I would like to visit your clinic but other than you, any female doctor specialise in this as well? Thanks once again 🙂

    • We can do HPV tests from a cervical swab for women. This will only test for the high risk types. There is no test to determine the presence of low risk HPV strains. Yes you can do the HPV test and take the vaccine on the same day. The outcome of the test does not dictate the use of the vaccine. Our lady Doctor Dr. De Souza is on exam leave.

  24. Dear Dr Tan,

    I have taken the gardasil vaccine in year 2008. Do you suggest I retake again? Any booster for this? There are other brands outside which protect different types of hpv that gardasil doesn’t protect. Do I have to take them to have higher protection against hpv ?

    Can I know if one is protected after 1 jab or after one completes 3 jabs??

    Thank you so much !

    • The current study for Gardasil is protection for 10 years. There is a study yet to be released that apparently proves protection up to 17 years. Currently, there is no recommendation for boosters. The only other brand of HPV vaccine currently available is Cervarix. It protects against fewer strains of HPV than Gardasil but apparently provides better protection against Cervical Cancer specifically. Some patients take both vaccines. This is not officially recommnended but so far in patients taking both vaccines, I have not seen any ill effects. Antibody production usually occurs after 2 weeks from the 1st jab however, clinical protection studies are all based on subjects who have completed 3 jabs. In other words, to benefit fully from the vaccines, you have to complete 3 jabs.

  25. Hi Dr Tan, are there any common side effects after or during vaccination?

    • Very good question. The common side effects include swelling, pain and bruising in the injection site. Other side effects listed in the product insert are headache, dizziness, nausea, fever.

  26. May I know if this vaccine last a life time? Will it need to be re-administrated after some time?

    • The current information in the product insert says 5 years. However, there is evidence from new studies that will be presented at the end of this year to show that protection lasts for 10 years. As we get more data on the topic, this duration will likely get longer.

  27. Here in the US, the HPV vaccine has been tested and recommended only for people 26 years old and younger. From all I’ve read, though, it appears that it would be smart for anyone who is sexually active, esp. with multiple partners, to get it. Do you agree?

    • The reason why there is a 26 years old upper limit is because the oldest participant recruited for the study submitted for licensing and indication of Gardasil was 26 years old. So technically there is ‘no data’ for older persons. I think this is just an adminstrative and legal limitation. I completely agree with you that everyone, regardless of their age will benefit from the vaccine.

      • Lynn Parker

        A lot of studies have shown that most women (at least in Western countries) will have already been exposed to an HPV virus by the age of 26. I agree though that if the women never had any prior exposure then the vaccine would be beneficial.

        • Yes you are absolutely right. Except I would like to raise 2 points. 1. The age limit of 26 years old actually stems from the fact that the oldest participant in the studies submitted for licensing was 26 years old. Therefore, it was concluded by the licensing FDA (HSA in Singapore) that there was insufficient evidence to recommend the vaccine for women older than 26. I am not aware of any studies specifically stating that most women at 26 have been exposed to HPV although I would suspect that you are right. 2. Even if a woman has been exposed to HPV, we do not know if she has actually caught the virus and what strain she has caught. Also, she might have already spontaneously cleared the virus from her system and is therefore infection free. In these cases, she will still benefit from the vaccine. At the end of the day, doctors know the benefits of vaccination but we do not want to come across as trying to push it to everyone. You have brought up good points that men and women should consider and discuss with their doctors before deciding whether they wish to get vaccinated or not.

  28. Hi Dr,

    May I know how much it will cost for the full course of the vaccine? I understand that it consists of 3 separate shots, am I right?

    • Gardasil vaccination schedule consists of 3 shots either given at 0, 2 and 6 months or 0, 1 and 4 months. We charge $150 per injection.

  29. Hi Dr Tan, I am wondering if someone had HPV virus that caused gential warts, will the HPV vaccine fight and clear the virus. Is it true that our immune system will clear the virus infection without doing anything?

    • You are absolutely right to say that most of the time, our body fights off the HPV virus by itself. This is called spontaneous clearance. I am of the belief that getting a vaccine will incite a greater antibody response compared to a wild type infection and thus increasing the rate of spontaneous clearance. Also, even if someone already has genital warts, we cannot tell which strain he/she has. So getting a vaccine that will protect against the other strains will still benefit the individual.

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