Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, is a very common virus worldwide that can lead to cancer. In fact, HPV has been estimated to cause an average of 254 deaths and over one thousand cases of cancer in Ontario every year. Research shows that without immunization, about 75 per cent of sexually active Canadians will get an HPV infection in their lifetime.
Ontario is expanding the publicly funded HPV immunization program by offering the HPV vaccine to people who are 26 years of age or younger and who identify as gay or bisexual, as well as men who have sex with men, including some trans people. Men who have sex with men are at increased risk of HPV infection, which can lead to penile and anal cancers.
The HPV vaccine is also provided to both boys and girls in Grade 7 as part of the routine school-based immunization program. Previously, it was offered only to girls in Grade 8.
Those who are eligible are able to receive the cancer-fighting vaccine from any of the Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit’s immunization or sexual health clinics, free of charge.