HPV, or human papilloma virus, causes several cancers. It causes infections on the skin and the genitals, and some of the symptomless genital HPV infections develop into cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, penis and anus. HPV can also cause cancers in the head and neck area.
The HPV vaccine helps to prevent cervical cancer and its precancerous conditions. In addition, it can prevent some cancers of the vagina and vulva, of the head and neck area and the anus. The vaccination is most effective when it is given before the individual is sexually active.
HPV vaccinations will begin for 5th graders in autumn 2019. Under the National Immunisation Programme, the HPV vaccination is given to girls aged 11 to 12. The guardians of school children can discuss the HPV vaccination with the school physician and nurse in conjunction with the comprehensive physical examination carried out at school. This means that the guardians’ separate written authorisation is not needed.
The National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) recommends including the HPV vaccination in the immunisation programme for boys. It will be included in the boys’ programme in autumn 2020 at the earliest.