HPV, or Human Papillomavirus, is a virus that can infect many parts of the body, including the genital area.
There are more than 100 different sub-types of HPV and some can cause cancer when infected. Of this, about 30 to 40 sub-types can infect the genital area. Some can cause genital warts in both men and women, but 14 are associated with cervical cancer in women and, less commonly, anal or penile cancer in men.
Photo credits: Singapore Cancer Society
Cancer Caused by HPV Infection
High-risk HPV sub-types can cause cancer, such as cervical, anal, vaginal and vulva cancers. Out of these four, cervical cancer is the most common one.
Some types of HPV can infect the cervix, which is the lower part of the womb. When this happens, cells will start to change. In approximately 90% of the infection cases, the virus clears on its own and the cells return to normal.
However if the infection persists and cause the cells to grow abnormally, some of these cells may develop into cervical cancer, if undetected at an early stage.
In 1970 in Singapore, cervical cancer was ranked second in women, after breast cancer. Because more women are going for Pap smears, the number of women who had fallen prey to cervical cancer decreased drastically over the years.
About the Vaccination
HPV vaccination can help prevent some types of HPV infection that may lead to cervical cancer. Immunisation with HPV vaccine is recommended for both men and women between 9 to 26 years old. The vaccines work best before you start having sex or sexual activity, but even if you have started, you can still be protected against the sub-types of HPV that you have not already been exposed to.
There are 3 types of HPV vaccines available in Singapore – Gardasil, Gardasil 9 and Cervarix.
Types of Vaccine
Protect against these sub-types
6, 11, 16, 18
Gardasil 9 (nine-valent)
6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, 58
These vaccines are given as an injection. Typically, you would need 3 doses over a span of 5-7 months.
List of Clinics & Prices
We’ve done some research on the clinics that offer these HPV jabs, and here’s the list (not comprehensive) for you! Some clinics allow for Medisave claim while some others do not. The maximum that you can claim from Medisave is $400 a year, and if you’re between 9 – 26 years old.