Author | Photos Toa Heftiba

PROTECT YO’SELF: Get a Convenient HPV Vaccination Right at Your Pharmacy!

Were you aware that your local Shoppers Drug Mart can vaccinate against HPV? WE WERE NOT! Now we’re telling everybody! 

Let’s get down to brass tacks: HPV (human papillomavirus) is a common, yet preventable, sexually transmitted infection. Are you currently protected? (Condoms cannot completely protect you, as the virus can live on other parts of the genitalia. Yep, we’re getting graphic, ‘cuz this is IMPORTANT!)

Contracting HPV may not have immediate effects on your body, but it is what causes almost all cervical cancers and genital warts. It can also cause cancers of the throat, mouth, anus and vagina. Yeah, so read on.

While some of us with HPV are aware we have it, others are not. That’s why this particular STI is sneaky, as most people don’t know they are infected because they aren’t showing any symptoms. Even if your partner SWEARS they have no STIs, they may have one without knowing it. Best to take the guessing out of this guessing game and just get vaccinated. I mean, why wouldn’t you? 

HPV Vaccine Fast Facts: 

  • There are three vaccines available, all of which can be used for women, but only two can be used for men.
  • The vaccines differ based on the strains of the virus, and they only offer protection for the strains that the vaccine contains.
  • Even if you’ve had a previous HPV infection, getting vaccinated can still be beneficial, as it can protect you against other strains. 

About a decade ago, publicly funded HPV vaccination programs were made available for girls in Canada; however, only girls in certain grades were eligible, so many of us never had the opportunity to participate in this publicly funded vaccination. It’s too bad some of us missed out then, but that doesn’t mean we can’t protect ourselves now. 

Lastly, this goes without saying, but after you get the vaccination, DO CONTINUE to practice safe sex. Duh.

Pharmacists in Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI can both prescribe and administer HPV and other adult vaccinations. In most other provinces, except Quebec, pharmacists can administer HPV vaccinations following a physician prescription. For more information, swing by the pharmacy counter next time you dip into Shoppers for toothpaste and lipstick. (Us, always, forever and ever wandering Shoppers.)

This post was generously sponsored by Shoppers Drug Mart, but the thoughts and opinions are our own.

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