Doesn’t HPV only affect women?

  • No. HPV is a very common sexually transmitted infection, affecting both men and women, gay or straight. HPV can be transmitted by oral, anal, and/or genital sexual contact – even hands and mouths can facilitate transmission of HPV.
  • Studies have found that HPV is widespread among all sexually active adults, and more so among gay men and bisexual men. HPV infection in men can cause genital warts as well as oral, anal, or genital cancers.

If I already have HPV, can I still benefit from the vaccine?

  • Yes. Even if you have been infected with HPV in the past, getting vaccinated with Gardasil® will offer protection from infection with other common strains of HPV (types 6, 11, 16, and 18). Getting vaccinated with Gardasil® 9 offers even greater protection, preventing cancer-causing types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

How can I get tested for HPV?

  • Currently, there is no HPV test recommended for men for clinical purposes in Canada. The only approved HPV tests on the market are for screening women for cervical cancer, and cannot be used for screening HPV-related cancers or genital warts in men.
  • However, as part of your routine care, you should seek out medical attention if you experience any unusual signs or symptoms in the anus, such as unexplained pain or bleeding, regardless of whether or not you’ve been vaccinated. Talk to your doctor about getting a digital ano-rectal examination (DARE) done as part of your regular check-up or when getting tested for HIV or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It’s an easy and free tool available to all doctors, so bring this up at your next visit!

I always use condoms! Doesn’t that already protect me?

  • Condoms offer some protection from HPV, but don’t eliminate the risk of HPV infection, as transmission can occur from contact outside the area protected by condoms – even hands and mouths can facilitate transmission.
  • Since HPV is so common and usually invisible, the best form of prevention is getting vaccinated with Gardasil® to ensure you are protected against the four most common strains of HPV (types 6, 11, 16, and 18), or Gardasil® 9 which prevents infection of .five additional cancer-causing strains (types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58).

How can I reduce my risk of HPV infection?

  • Since HPV is so common and usually invisible, the best form of prevention is getting vaccinated with Gardasil® to ensure you are protected against the four most common strains of HPV (types 6, 11, 16, and 18), or Gardasil® 9 which prevents infection of five additional cancer-causing strains (types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58)..

Isn’t Gardasil® only for girls?

  • No. Gardasil® and Gardasil® 9 has been approved for use among boys and girls (and men and women), Gardasil® offers protection against infection of the four most common HPV strains which are linked to the development of genital warts and cancers in both men and women, while Gardasil® 9 provides protection from five additional cancer-causing HPV types.

I’m over 26. Can I still benefit from the vaccine?

  • Yes. Even if you have been infected with HPV in the past, getting vaccinated with Gardasil® will offer protection from infection with other common strains of HPV (types 6, 11, 16, and 18). Getting vaccinated with Gardasil® 9 offers even greater protection, preventing cancer-causing types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58.

Does Gardasil® have any side effects?

  • Health Canada and many other regulatory bodies around the world have approved Gardasil® and Gardasil® 9 for the prevention of HPV infection among males and females. These decisions have been based on many clinical trials and studies demonstrating the safety of the vaccine.
  • Very few side effects have been reported, and the most common is temporary soreness at the site of injection, which is a common side effect for most vaccinations. If you have questions about possible side effects from Gardasil® or Gardasil® 9, talk to a pharmacist or doctor for more information.

Where can I get Gardasil®?

  • You can get vaccinated with Gardasil® or Gardasil® 9 at most pharmacies in Canada. You may need a prescription to get vaccinated. If you intend on getting your vaccination fees covered by an extended health insurance plan (e.g., Standard Life) you will need a prescription. Check with your insurance provider to see if you’re covered for Gardasil® 9!
  • If you are paying for your vaccination out-of-pocket, the total cost for Gardasil® is approximately $450, while Gardasil® 9 is approximately $540. This includes getting the three required doses of vaccine, at about $150 per dose for Gardasil®, or about $180 per dose for Gardasil® 9.

Do I need a prescription to get Gardasil®?

  • Some provinces may require a prescription to get Gardasil® or Gardasil® 9. If you intend on getting your vaccination fees covered by an extended health insurance plan (e.g. Standard Life) you will need a prescription. Check with your insurance provider to see if your insurance provider will cover your Gardasil® vaccination, and if so, whether they also cover Gardasil® 9.

How much does the vaccine cost?

  • Vaccination involves getting 3 shots over a period of about 6 months, which you can get done at a local pharmacy. While recommended for use, Gardasil® is not publicly funded for gay and bisexual men at the moment, and costs about $150 per dose ($450 in total for the 3 required shots), while Gardasil® 9 costs about $180 per dose ($540 in total).
  • These costs may be covered through health insurance coverage from your employer or school, so check with your insurance provider to see if you’re covered (and if your coverage includes Gardasil® 9!). Keep in mind that coverage varies between insurance companies and plans.

Is there more than one type of HPV?

  • Yes. Over 150 different strains of the HPV virus have been identified. Most are harmless, cause no signs or symptoms, and clear up by themselves.
  • The Gardasil® vaccine provides protection of the four most common strains of HPV infection, two of which (types 6 and 11) are commonly associated with benign genital warts, while the other two (types 16 and 18) are considered high-risk and are linked to some forms of cancer including anal, oral, penile, and cervical cancers. Gardasil® 9 prevents infection from five additional cancer-causing HPV strains (types 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58).

I’ve started my Gardasil® vaccination (i.e. already received one or two shots). Can I switch to Gardasil® 9?

  • If you have already started with a Gardasil® vaccination, the current recommendation is to complete your existing vaccination schedule (i.e. finish the 3 required shots). Recommendations for how best to get additional protection from Gardasil® 9 if you have already completed or started Gardasil vaccinations are still in development.

Why is Gardasil® still available when Gardasil® 9 provides increased protection from HPV?

  • Gardasil® will continue to be available to ensure complete vaccination for anyone who has started. Public vaccination programs in Canada, such as school-based initiatives among girls and boys, require formal recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) as well as province-specific decisions before making changes to the specific vaccine provided. Gardasil® will therefore be available in Canada for some time.