Who is eligible?
Individuals eligible for the publicly funded human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine include men who have sex with men (MSM) who are 26 years of age or younger and identify as gay, bisexual, as well as other MSM – including some trans people.
Why is this community eligible, and not others?
It is estimated that without immunization, at least 7 out of 10 sexually active people will get HPV in their lifetime. Among MSM, the risk of genital warts caused by HPV infection is about 3 times higher than for heterosexual males and the risk of anal cancer is 20 times higher.
How and where can you get the vaccine?
You must meet eligibility requirements (see above) to receive the publicly funded HPV vaccine. However, anyone can talk to their health care provider about getting vaccinated from HPV.
The free HPV vaccine is available for eligible individuals through their local public health unit. For more information, contact your local public health unit or health care provider. To find a public health unit near you, visit ontario.ca/healthcareoptions
The HPV vaccine is given as either a two or three-dose series, depending on a person’s age when they receive their first dose and their medical and immunization history.
For all doses to be publicly funded, the vaccine series needs to be completed before you turn 27 years of age. It’s important to get all the recommended doses for full protection.
To find a public health unit near you, visit ontario.ca/healthcareoptions
What is HPV?
The human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). HPV is a very common virus and is spread during sexual activity involving intimate skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. HPV can be passed even when an infected person has no signs or symptoms.
The most common symptoms of HPV are warts on, in, or around the penis and anus. In some cases, HPV infections can cause a variety of serious health problems, including anal cancers. It can also cause other cancers. Cancers caused by HPV infections develop very slowly and may not be diagnosed until years, or even decades, after a person initially gets infected with HPV.
In many cases, people infected with HPV will not experience symptoms or health problems. However, they are still at risk of passing along the virus to their sexual partners.
How can you get it?
HPV is spread during sexual activity through skin-to-skin contact with someone who has HPV. While consistent and correct use of latex condoms may reduce the risk of getting HPV, the virus can still be spread through skin-to-skin contact from areas that are not covered by the condom.
Remember—“symptom-free” doesn’t mean “infection-free.” Even if you feel perfectly fine, and do not notice any visible warts, you can still carry the virus and pass it on to your partner.
For more about symptoms, treatment, and general information on HPV visit sexualhealthontario.ca/infections/genital-warts-hpv/