Boys in Ontario will soon be able to get the HPV vaccine in school.
The government announced Thursday that boys will now be offered the cancer-fighting human papillomavirus vaccine along with girls. The shot is currently offered free of charge in Ontario schools to girls in Grade 8. The new program will expand access to all children in Grade 7.
Expanding the program “falls in line with current scientific and expert recommendations including Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization,” a statement from the ministry of health said.
The expansion will see 154,000 school-aged children become eligible to receive the vaccine each year.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is a different virus than HIV and HSV (herpes). HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives. There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause health problems including genital warts and cancers.
How do I know if I have HPV?
There is no test to find out a person’s “HPV status.” Also, there is no approved HPV test to find HPV in the mouth or throat.
There are HPV tests that can be used to screen for cervical cancer. These tests are recommended for screening only in women aged 30 years and older. They are not recommended to screen men, adolescents, or women under the age of 30 years.
Most people with HPV do not know they are infected and never develop symptoms or health problems from it. Some people find out they have HPV when they get genital warts. Women may find out they have HPV when they get an abnormal Pap test result (during cervical cancer screening). Others may only find out once they’ve developed more serious problems from HPV, such as cancers.