Between the 6 August and 20 September 2019 the City will be on a major drive to vaccinate young girls against the human papillomavirus (HPV).
The HPV vaccine is offered free to girls aged between nine and 12 years to protect them against different cancers including cervical, mouth, and throat, anal and genital. It also helps to protect against warts.
The City together with the Department of Basic Education and National Department of Health target 520 schools in the City. Before the girls receive the vaccine they have to get permission from parents through the completion of a consent form. You can get HPV by having vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the virus. It is most commonly spread during vaginal or anal sex. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.
This information can actually prevent parents from giving consent as they believe their children are not sexually active at this age but research has shown that girls are becoming sexually active at a younger age. The purpose is to protect them sooner rather than later. Parents are urged to give consent and support the campaign.
There are more than 100 types of HPV but the focus of the drive is on those that cause cervical and genital cancer. About 40 types of HPV are sexually transmitted through genital contact, while mostly two types (16 + 18) are considered to be high risk in South Africa. High-risk types are estimated to cause: 70% of cervical cancers; 50% of vaginal & vulva cancers; and 20% of head and neck cancers.
It is estimated that about 30 000 pupils will be vaccinated by end September with the first dose having been done between February and March 2019