I'm interested in the HPV vaccine.

A:

HPV stands for Human papillomavirus. There are 100+ types of HPV, many of which involve our genitals. HPV is very common: most Canadians who are sexually active will have HPV at some point. This virus is passed through skin-to-skin contact during vaginal and anal sex. Most of the time, HPV is not serious, and our bodies will clear the virus from our bodies without us even knowing. However, some types of HPV cause bumpy genital warts and other types of HPV are more serious because they may cause cancer of the anus, cervix, mouth and throat, penis, vagina, and vulva.

The HPV vaccine prevents 70% of genital cancers and 90% of genital warts. It was first offered at no charge in BC in 2008, to school-age girls, and since then, the program has expanded to include more (but still not all) youth. The most up-to-date information about who can get an HPV vaccine for free through the public program is available through Immunize BC (http://immunizebc.ca/diseases-vaccinations/hpv).  

Talking to a doctor or a nurse is a good way to know if the HPV vaccine is right for us. If we are living with HIV and get care from a doctor, this could be a good person to talk to about whether or not we want to get the HPV vaccine. Youth clinics are also a great place to learn more about the HPV vaccine. To find a youth clinic near you in BC, see this list. Smart Sex Resource also has a clinic finder that shows us a map of clinics throughout British Columbia, including when they are open and what kinds of services they provide. 

Even if we can’t get an HPV vaccine for free, we may decide to purchase it for ourselves (although, it is pricey!) If we decide to get the HPV vaccine, we’ll typically get three doses over a six month period.

YouthCO continues to welcome expanded access to publicly funded HPV vaccine program.

HPV

YouthCO's office is located on the unceded traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Tsleil-Waututh people. Our programs take place on unceded, ancestral, and traditional territories of many Indigenous nations across what is now called BC.

YouthCO believes that all youth have the right to accessible and affirming information about our health. We also know each of us has a unique relationship to our bodies, sex, sexuality, substance use, and harm reduction. For many of us, the words other people use for our bodies and their functions are not the words we use for ourselves. Throughout our website, YouthCO uses words for bodies and sex that we know will not reflect the full diversity of our communities. We have tried to, where possible, be as expansive with our language as we know how to while being as specific as possible. As youth leading the HIV movement, we too are learning about the best words for our experiences and do not do this perfectly. We invite any feedback about the language used on our website to help us move forward in the best ways for all youth in our communities!