Now there is a very straightforward way to protect both girls and boys against the HPV virus - that's the virus which is a major cause of cervical cancer and genital warts, and also other HPV-associated cancers.
The new HPV vaccination (Gardasil 9) comes in 2 doses for those aged 14 years and younger, and 3 doses for those aged 15 and older.
It is part of the official Ministry of Health FREE school vaccination programme.
Did you know that:
More than 90% of the adult population will come into contact with HPV virus at some time in their lives.
The vaccination protects against the strains of the HPV virus that cause 70 - 80% of cervical and other HPV-associated cancers.
The vaccination protects against the strains of the HPV virus that cause about 90% of genital warts.
For best protection girls and boys need to be vaccinated before they are likely to be exposed to HPV, which means before they start having any sexual contact, regardless of whether that is within a stable relationship or marriage, or more casual sexual activity. Getting vaccinated is about protecting young people for their future life, not about endorsing sexual activity at a young age.
In Australia, a 75% rate of vaccination has resulted in the near eradication or decrease of cancers associated with HPV, improved pregnancy outcomes and the near eradication of genital warts in people under 21 years of age. Australia provides the immunisation to both girls and boys.
If our vaccination rate increases to 75% or more for girls, this will mean women will need cervical smear testing less often and later in age.
Currently about 160 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, and 50 of them will die from it.
Vaccinated against HPV? If not, here's what to do.
The 2 doses of the new HPV vaccination are currently given to girls and boys in Year 8 at school.
The vaccination is safe and free.
If the school does not offer the vaccination programme, you can still get vaccinated FREE at your local GP/Medical Centre, up until you turn 27 years of age.
If you are 14 years old or older and missed out on the school vaccination programme for any reason, you can still get vaccinated FREE at your local GP/Medical Centre, up until you turn 27 years of age.
If you are 27 years or older and want to be vaccinated, you can get it done at your local GP/Medical Centre but there may be a charge. Talk to your GP or practice nurse about what is best for you and how much it might cost.