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Health Council: vaccinate girls and boys against HPV

Health Council: vaccinate girls and boys against HPV

The Health Council has a new advice issued on vaccination against HPV. It is advised to vaccinate all children from 9 years old; girls and boys. The vaccine offers protection against certain forms of the human papillomavirus (HPV).

HPV is a sexually transmitted virus. The virus causes cervical cancer and also plays a role in various other cancers (anus, penis, vagina, labia, mouth and pharynx). Besides the fact that vaccination offers direct protection against these cancers, it also leads to group protection: the risk of HPV infection also decreases for unvaccinated people. In this way, vaccination of boys also indirectly reduces the risk of cervical cancer in girls.

Population screening for cervical cancer (cervical cancer)
Women receive an invitation and the option to self-sample when they turn 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55 or 60 and the smear is then first examined for the presence of the human papilloma virus (HPV). Only if this virus is present, the same smear is immediately assessed for abnormal cells and if so, the woman is referred to the gynecologist for colposcopic examination. A colposcopy is then performed in the Jan van Goyen Medical Center to investigate whether a precancerous stage of cervical cancer is present (CIN cervical intraepithelial neoplasia). Depending on the severity of the abnormality, it is treated with a loop excision or closely monitored.

HPV in men
In men, the same Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) can lead to anal cancer. HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) are the main risk group for anal cancer. Jan van Goyen Medical Center performs High Resolution Anoscopy to screen for AIN (Anal Intraepithelial Neoplasia). AIN is a change in the mucous membrane in and around the anus and is a precursor of anal cancer. From the NVHB HIV-seropositive MSM over the age of 30 are advised to have an anoscopy performed on a regular basis.

By amending this advice, Jan van Goyen Medical Center hopes that the number of cases of cervical and anal cancer will decrease in the future.

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