Ka hao te Rakatahi
HPV – playing it safe

So what is HPV, and what is the vaccine? To paraphrase The Guardian, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is sexually transmitted, and almost all sexually active adults carry some of the 170 different strains. Subtypes 6 and 11 can lead to genital warts, while 16 and 18 can lead to numerous forms of cancer, chiefly cervical cancer. In fact, over 90% of cervical cancers are caused by HPV and according to the World Health Organisation, in 2012 alone, 270,000 women died from it.

Gardasil is 99% effective against the four worst strains of HPV. The pharmaceutical company Merck began clinical development of the vaccine in 1997, and the vaccine passed all three phases of testing before being released to the public. In fact, our Government fast-tracked its release, believing it would be unethical to withhold it.

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