HPV: Why you and your partner need to get vaccinated
Dr. Ankita Gharge (she/her)

Dr. Ankita Gharge (she/her)

Apr 29HPV

HPV: Why you and your partner need to get vaccinated

According to health professionals, HPV is not bound by the sex of a person - meaning that you can contract HPV regardless of your sexual identity. When deciding who gets the vaccine, gender is a blunt instrument, and HPV vaccination is for all. While it is true that, on average, men are less likely to contract the virus than women, specific subgroups such as men who have sex with men may be at greater risk.

Almost every unvaccinated sexually active person will contract HPV at some point in their lives, and the majority of HPV infections will clear up on their own. Infections that do not go away, on the other hand, can lead to cancers.

Should you and your partner get vaccinated? 

The answer is an 'obvious’ yes!. If you and your partner have not been sexually active in the past - there is no time better than this. HPV vaccination is most effective before engaging in any sexual activity. FOGSI (The Federation of Obstetric and Gynecological Societies of India) recommends getting vaccinated between the age of 9-45 years, if not already immunised.

If you are already sexually active - it is still a good idea to get vaccinated. Since most people are unaware that they have HPV as HPV symptoms can present themselves years after being infected, they are often unaware of the fact that they can be transmitting the virus. With HPV being so common, vaccination is the best method to lower your infection chances. The vaccine is still effective if you are sexually active and can protect you and your partners from developing certain types of invasive cancers such as cervical and anal cancer. Additionally, it also helps prevent HPV transmission from one person to another during any sexual activity.

Building healthy conversations 

Many couples hesitate to bring up HPV vaccination due to the lack of awareness and representation around the topic. While information, or rather the lack of it, is one reason - another is the uncertainty around how one's partner(s) may react. “The key is to create a safe space where you can openly discuss your sexual, mental and physical well-being", says Shaheen Khan, a clinical psychologist at Proactive For Her.

In contrast, this narrative has seen a substantial positive change in the recent past, with more individuals taking charge of their health and actively investing in preventive healthcare. If you are already vaccinated, empower those around you with the information they need or the right tools to find that information.  

Read More: An Insight into HPV 

Disclaimer: This information is educational and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare professionals before undertaking any changes to your health and wellness practices.

Proactive For Her is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalised, and confidential healthcare solutions. We provide products and services for out-patient health concerns of Indian women across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause.