News / South Africa / Health

Lucky Thusi
1 minute read
6 Aug 2019
2:57 pm

City of Johannesburg to vaccinate young girls against HPV

Lucky Thusi

Girls from 520 schools across Johannesburg will be vaccinated in an effort to protect them from a host of potentially fatal cancers.

Parents are urged to give their consent and support the campaign. Image: iStock

From August 6 until September, the City of Johannesburg 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 cancers. It also helps to protect against warts, reports Comaro Chronicle.

The City, together with the department of basic education and the national department of health, is targeting 520 schools in the city. Before the girls receive the vaccine, they have to get permission from their parents by completing a consent form.

One can contract 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 on even when an infected person shows no signs or symptoms of the virus.

Research shows 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 their 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 are considered to be high risk in South Africa. High-risk types are estimated to cause 70% of cervical cancers, 50% of vaginal and vulva cancers, and 20% of head and neck cancers.

It is estimated that about 30,000 learners will be vaccinated by the end of September, with the first dose having been administered between February and March 2019.

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