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Up to 80% of Sexually Active People in Thailand May Have HPV

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Up to 80% of Sexually Active People in Thailand May Have HPV

Doctors encourage women to get the HPV vaccine to reduce the risk of Cervical cancer and have regular screenings before it’s too late. Cervical cancer ranks second among Thai women of working age after breast cancer.

Every day, 25 women in Thailand are diagnosed with cervical cancer, totalling 9,158 yearly.

13 women die daily from cervical cancer. More than 80% of men and women are at risk of contracting HPV without symptoms.

HPV can cause cervical cancer, making it a silent threat. HPV can turn normal cells cancerous.

The Road to Zero HPV seminar promoted cervical cancer awareness with private and government help.

Clinical Professor Dr. Vitaya Tithapan, president of the Royal Thai College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Professor Dr. Somsak Lolekha, president of the Royal College of Paediatricians of Thailand, and Dr. Jakkrit Ngowsiri, deputy secretary-general of the National Health Security Office, spoke (NHSO).

Mrs. Somkuan Sathongkaen, a cervical cancer survivor, also spoke.

HPV

Don’t ignore HPV’s link to cervical cancer.

Dr. Vitaya said HPV lives on moist body surfaces and in the vagina.

HPV causes cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, and genital warts. Even though HPV usually goes away independently, it can remain dormant for 10 to 20 years.

The affected skin will become cancerous. Carriers can spread HPV even during the dormant phase. HPV can live long on inanimate surfaces.

You can get HPV from shared utensils.

Because HPV infections have no early symptoms, case finding is crucial. Early diagnosis means prompt treatment. Thailand has two HPV tests:

1. PAP smear: This obstetrician-performed test collects vaginal cell samples. Lab tests will detect abnormal cells.

This test is accurate because it measures DNA levels. It allows early cancer detection.

hpv vaccine

Why is HPV important if it heals itself?

The body can eject most HPV, but 10% can remain. People think HPV protection isn’t necessary because they trust their immune systems.

Professor Dr. Somsak spoke about HPV vaccines and emphasized their importance. We have bivalent, quadrivalent, and 9-valent HPV vaccines.

Their efficacy varies. Bivalent vaccines are 70% effective against HPV types 16 and 18.

The vaccine protects against HPV types 16, 18, 11, and 6, which cause 90% of genital warts in men and women.

Types 6 and 11 cause potentially fatal Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis in newborns. The 9-valent HPV vaccine covers types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

This type is 90% effective against cervical cancer, genital warts, and RRP. HPV vaccination exposes the body to non-infectious virus parts to boost the immune system against HPV.

HPV vaccines are recommended for 9-year-old boys and girls. 9 to 15 years old is the best age for vaccination because it boosts immunity.

Once vaccinated, protection can last without a booster. Professor Somsak says children under 15 need two doses of the HPV vaccine. Over-15s requires three doses.

The first and second doses should be given 1 to 2 months apart, and the third doses six months apart.

Everyone should get the HPV vaccine. Vaccinated men have a lower risk of HPV-related diseases and being carriers.

HPV vaccination doesn’t mean parents are preparing their children for sexual relationships. Instead, HPV vaccines prevent disease.

Most effective for those who’ve never had HPV. Parents should register their children for HPV vaccination when schools schedule appointments.

Doctors should advise sexually active people over 27. If vaccinated against HPV, they’ll be protected from reinfection and other HPV types.

hpv vaccine

Survivor’s voice

People wonder about cervical cancer’s early symptoms, how it’s treated, and how long recovery takes.

Mrs. Somkuan Sathongkaen spoke at the seminar. She had cervical cancer. I recovered after a year. Before cancer, I’d never had a pelvic exam.

I noticed heavy menstrual bleeding. Later, I had an irregular menstrual cycle and severe stomach pain.

I thought these symptoms were due to age and menopause. As they worsened, I saw a doctor.

I had cervical cancer then. Stage 2 cancer shocked me. I needed to relax and consider treatment options and procedures.

I then began a yearlong course of chemoradiation that cost hundreds of thousands of baht.

hpv vaccine

HPV vaccine and screening

Dr. Jakkrit said the NHSO has closely monitored the threat of cervical cancer and allocated a budget for comprehensive care.

We offer free cervical cancer screenings every five years to Thai women ages 30 to 60. They can exercise their right at their named hospital. More than 400,000 Pathom 5 schoolgirls in Thailand received HPV vaccines.

HPV vaccination has continued for years, except during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a vaccine shortage. Students resumed HPV vaccination in 2022. NHSO bought a quadrivalent HPV vaccine for all Pathom 5 schoolgirls this year.

The NHSO also plans to provide free HPV DNA Testing kits to promote cervical cancer screening. Women can collect lab samples with the kits. Soon, HPV DNA testing kits will be available.

The NHSO plans to improve HPV prevention and care based on expert and ministry recommendations. NHSO may give HPV vaccine to boys to improve healthcare, he said.

Cervical cancer is serious but preventable. HPV vaccination for 9-year-olds and screenings every five years for women over 30 are crucial.

Cervical cancer survivors should see their doctors regularly to reduce recurrence risk.

Doctors recommend that people who have never had cancer or been vaccinated against HPV get regular checkups to determine their health and receive timely treatments for sustainable good health.

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