I’ve had the HPV vaccine, do I still need to go for pap smears?

Sunday, 25 October 2015

If I’ve had the HPV vaccination Gardasil, do I still need to go for annual Pap smears / check ups at the gynae?


Health care expert, Dr Graham Duncombe from Skin & body Renewal, responds:

“Gardasil is a prophylactic HPV vaccine. It offers protection against 4 HPV types  (type 6, 11, 16 and 18). When administered before girls become sexually active it would have maximum effect, but it is protective against clinical disease if you are already infected by one or more HPV types, due to the presence of the 4 HPV types in the vaccine.

The vaccine offers protection against cervical and other genital cancers as well as genital warts. The vaccine also offers the best possible protection if the course of 3 vaccinations was completed. Another HPV vaccine called Cervarix is also available in South Africa.

There are multiple risk factors for the development of cervical cancers of which HPV types 16 and 18 are the most important. The other risk factors include early sexual activity (younger age), other sexually transmitted infections (gonorrhoea clamydia etc), a weak immune system (HIV infection), smoking and having multiple sexual partners (increased risk for HPV infection).

Having a HPV vaccine would then give you protection against the development of cervical cancer but due to the other risk factors you are not completely safeguarded. The best possible way to ensure early detection and treatment of cervical cancer still remains to have a regular Pap smear done at your local clinic, general practitioner of gynaecologist.”

Got a pressing health issue? Ask Dr Duncombe about it here.

Other articles you may be interested in:
The HPV virus: What you need to know
Can you tell me more about the HPV vaccine?
Can the pill affect my libido?
Regular health check ups you’ve got to have
How can I treat my PMS?

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  1. Pseudo_kate

    I saw my GP yesterday for the first time in over a year and I had no idea that GPs were also able to do Pap smears.

    4 years ago •

  1. AndreaM

    it is so expensive though, wish it was cheaper.

    4 years ago •

  1. Tidi Phago

    I learned of the HPV vaccine when my daughter had it given at school – such important lesson. We appreciate this

    4 years ago •


    Thank you for this very important information. I did not know that having a HPV vaccine was so important.

    4 years ago •

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