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Vaccines

Hepatitis A and B and some types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) can be prevented by vaccines. Vaccines for some other STIs, including HIV and Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) are being developed.

Vaccines are made from weakened or killed bacteria or virus. When a person is given a vaccine, the body's immune system responds to the ‘invading’ germs. The body creates anti-bodies to the bacteria or virus which protect the person against that infection in the future. For vaccines to be effective they must be given before exposure to the virus or bacteria.

There are vaccines for some sexually transmitted infections, including hepatitis Ahepatitis B, and HPV.

In British Columbia, the hepatitis A vaccine is free for:

  • Men who have sex with other men, or are not yet sexually active but are questioning their sexual orientation
  • Individuals who are living with HIV
  • Inmates of provinical correctional facilities
  • People who use intravenous drugs or share drug equipment
  • Aboriginal people age 6 month to 18 years

In British Columbia, the hepatitis B vaccine is free for:

  • Infants as part of routine immunizations
  • Children in Grade 6
  • People born in 1980 or later
  • Individuals who are living with HIV
  • Inmates of provinical correctional facilities
  • People who use intravenous drugs or share drug equipment
  • People at higher risk of hepatitis B infection 

In British Columbia, the HPV vaccine is provided free to: 

  • Children in Grade 6 (HPV9)
  • Females born in 1994 or later who were not vaccinated in the school-based program
  • People aged 9-26 years who are living with HIV
  • Transgender individuals aged 9-26 years
  • Men who have sex with other men, or are not yet sexually active but are questioning their sexual orientation, or are street-involved
  • Boys aged 9-18 who are in the care of the Ministry of Children and Family Development
  • Boys and men of any age who are in youth custody services centres

There are two HPV vaccines available in Canada: Cervarix (HPV2) and Gardasil9 (HPV9). The HPV9 vaccine is approved for use in all genders. The HPV2 vaccine is only approved for use in females.

Resources

ImmunizeBC – Immunization information for British Columbians
ImmunizeBC HBV – Hepatits B vaccine information for British Columbians
ImmunizeBC HPV – HPV vaccine information for British Columbians
BCCDC.ca – BC Centre for Disease Control
HealthLinkBC – Health files on vaccines and immunizations
Public Health Agency of Canada – Information on immunizations
HPVinfo.ca – Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – US government information on vaccines and immunizations

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hepatitis, immunization, vaccine, HPV
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