hpv vaccine singapore

HPV Vaccines for Male and Female Singaporeans to Protect Against Cancer

HPV vaccination in Singapore for males and females. Here’s what you need to know.

by Liam Hoo

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV)  is one of the world’s most common sexually transmitted viruses and is a leading cause of lesions and cancers. You can, however, protect yourself against it with HPV vaccines.

What is Human Papillomavirus (HPV)?

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that commonly causes several epithelial lesions and cancers. It can present as skin, anal, or genital warts which, depending on the subtype, may progress into carcinoma, or cancer of the skin and tissue lining.

HPV is also known as the most common type of sexually transmitted disease, and is commonly transmitted through sex and other intimate contact between individuals.

There are over 100 subtypes of HPV infection. People with persistent HPV infections and multiple sexual partners are unfortunately at very high risk of catching more subtypes of HIV infections.

Most HPV infections tend to be latent, and they most often result in the formation of warts, rather than cancer. Different HPV subtypes, however, carry different levels of risk. HPV Subtypes 6 and 11 are low risk and usually result in genital warts, or low-grade precancerous lesions. HPV subtypes 16 and 18 are high risk and can cause high-grade lesions that develop into cancer.

What Can HPV Lead To?

Left untreated, HPV has the potential to cause some serious complications.

Potential HPV complications can include: 

  • Poor cosmesis, or irreversible disfigurement
  • Depression and lowered self-esteem
  • Obstruction of the urethra by genital warts
  • Development of genital warts into ulcers and potential infection
  • Development of cancer
  • Spreading HPV to others

Does HPV Affect Both Sexes?

Like all sexually transmitted diseases, HPV can affect both sexes. It can be spread through anal, vaginal, and oral sex or other intimate skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity. In fact, nearly all sexually active people will get a HPV infection at some point in their lives. 

It is therefore a misconception to assume that only women are susceptible to HPV infections.

HPV is not cancer itself, but it can cause changes in the body that then trigger the development of cancer. While HPV infections typically resolve on their own, persistent HPV infections can end up causing cancer. 

That includes cervical cancer in women and penile cancer in men, and anal cancer for both sexes. In fact, almost all cases of cervical cancer are HPV-related. 

HPV also has the potential to cause cancer in the back of your throat, including the base of your tongue and tonsils, also known as oropharyngeal cancer.

It should be noted, however, that HPV-related cancers are less commonly found in men. Some men, though, are at higher risk of developing cancer from HPV infections.

They include:

Men With Weak Immune Systems

This includes those with HIV and other medical conditions that may compromise your immune system. A HPV infection for these men are more likely to lead to the development of HPV-related health problems, including cancers.

Men Who Receive Anal Sex

They are at higher risk of getting HPV infections in the anal region and are more likely to develop anal cancer. 

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Types of HPV Vaccine in Singapore

Given the considerable risks of HPV infection, it is only prudent that we take appropriate steps to protect our sexual health against HPV. One good way of doing so is by getting yourself vaccinated with a HPV vaccine.

Several types of HPV vaccines are currently available in Singapore. They include Cervarix, Gardasil 4, and Gardasil 9.

Further information about them can be found in the table below:

 CervarixGardasil 4Gardasil 9
What HPV subtypes do they protect against?HPV 16, 18HPV 6, 11, 16, 18HPV 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, 58
What does it prevent?Cervical cancer and precancerous cervical lesions caused by HPV subtypes 16 and 18Cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancer caused by HPV subtypes 16 and 18Cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancer caused by HPV subtypes 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, 58
Precancerous cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal lesions caused by HPV subtypes 6, 11, 16, and 18Dysplastic, precancerous cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal lesions caused by HPV subtypes 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, 58
Genital warts caused HPV subtypes 6 and 11Genital warts caused by HPV subtypes 6 and 11
Who is approved to receive this vaccine?Females aged 9-25 years old or as advised by your doctorMales and females aged 9-26 years old or as advised by your doctorMales and females aged 9-26 years old or as advised by your doctor
How many doses do you need?Females aged 9-14 years old:
2 doses, 5 to 13 months apart
Females aged 9-14 years old:
2 doses, 6 to 12 months apart
Females aged 9-14 years old:
2 doses, 6 to 12 months apart
Females aged 15 to 25 years old:
3 doses— 2nd dose at 1 to 2.5 months after 1st dose
3rd dose at 5 to 12 months after 1st dose
Females aged 15 to 26 years old:
3 doses—
At 0, 2, and 6 months
Females aged 15 to 26 years old:
3 doses—
At 0, 2, and 6 months

How Effective Are HPV Vaccines? Can They Be Used for Both Males and Females?

HPV vaccines have well established track records of safety and effectiveness. HPV vaccines work extremely well and have the potential to prevent more than 90% of HPV-related cancers.

Currently, Gardasil 4 and 9 are generally approved for usage in both sexes, while Cervarix is recommended only for females. In 2019, SIngapore’s Ministry of Health approved Gardasil 9 for use in males and females aged 9 to 45 years old, expanding its coverage significantly.

Be sure to consult your doctor or a medical professional to ensure that you’re getting the right HPV vaccine suitable for your sex and age group.  

How Much Do HPV Vaccines Cost in Singapore?

The cost of HPV vaccines in Singapore can range from $300 to $800, depending on which of the three approved vaccines you are taking and whether you are considering private healthcare. 

Here is a table of of HPV vaccine costs for some common healthcare providers in Singapore:

ClinicCervarixGardasil 4 / HPV 4Gardasil 9 / HPV 9
DSC ClinicNAS$285S$570
Kensington Family ClinicNAS$417.30S$706.20
Tanjong Pagar Medical ClinicNAS$417.30S$706.20
Telok Blangah ClinicNAS$449.40S$706.20
Raffles Medical GroupS$395.90S$395.90S$688

Subsidies Available for HPV Vaccine in Singapore

While HPV vaccine costs may seem prohibitive at first glance, HPV vaccination need not necessarily be a costly affair. There are, thankfully, subsidies and schemes available for HPV vaccines in Singapore that makes them more affordable for us.

Community Health Assistance Scheme (CHAS)

As the HPV vaccine is included in Singapore’s National Immunisation schedule, it is eligible for subsidy under the Community Health Assistance Scheme (CHAS). Do note, however, that only Cervarix is covered under CHAS.  

The cost fee cap for CHAS card holders are as follows:

Merdeka Generation/ CHAS Blue/ CHAS OrangeS$23
CHAS Green/ Non-CHASS$45

To enjoy the CHAS HPV vaccine subsidy, simply visit any CHAS GP clinic with your CHAS card in hand and start arranging for your HPV vaccination.

Medisave

Singaporeans and Permanent Residents are able to claim Medisave of up to S$500 for both Cervarix and Gardasil 4 at approved medical institutions. Although the relatively newer Gardasil 9 offers a wider range of protection against HPV subtypes, it has not been approved for Medisave claims by Singapore’s Ministry of Health. If you choose to take Gardasil 9, you will most likely have to bear the full cost of the vaccine course. 

Who Should Get the HPV Vaccine?

HPV vaccination is recommended especially for women and young people. This is primarily due to the well-known association between HPV and cervical cancer. Singapore’s government has in fact, made it easier for young women to get vaccinated for HPV.

Under the National Childhood Immunisation Schedule, the Health Promotion Board offers female Secondary 1 Students HPV vacccinations as part of the National School-Based Vaccination Programme. Only Cervarix is offered under the programme.

It is recommended that females get vaccinated for HPV due to the known risks of HPV-related cervical cancer.

Although there are generally less subsidies available for men’s HPV vaccination, men should also consider getting vaccinated for HPV if possible and within their means. HPV is, after all, a sexually transmitted disease that affects both sexes. Protecting your own sexual health also helps protect others’ sexual health.

Do note that the vaccine does not cure existing HPV infections and can only offer protection against HPV subtypes that you have not not yet been infected with.

If you’re sexually active, it is well worth considering getting vaccinated for HPV to protect yourself and your sexual partners, while having fun safely. 

It is best to get vaccinated at an early age before you are exposed to any HPV subtypes. Even if you have been sexually active for a significant period of your life, getting vaccinated can still offer you protection against HPV subtypes that you have yet to been exposed to.

How to Get the HPV Vaccine?

You can get the HPV vaccine at a polyclinic, a GP clinic in Singapore, or an approved private healthcare provider of your choice. Remember to call in advance to check if your preferred vaccine choice is available or in stock. 

If you’d like further tailored guidance and support or more personalised advice regarding HPV vaccination for you or your loved ones, our friend Homage Care Advisors and Specialists are always available for you 24/7. Simply reach out to us at 6100 005.

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References
  1. Luria, L., & Cardoza-Favarato, G. (2021). Human Papillomavirus. [Webpage]. Retrieved 19 August 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK448132/
  2. STD Facts – HPV and Men. Cdc.gov. (2021). [Webpage]. Retrieved 19 August 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv-and-men.htm
  3. HPV Vaccination: What Everyone Should Know | CDC. Cdc.gov. (2021). [Webpage]. Retrieved 19 August 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/hpv/public/index.html#:~:text=Three%20HPV%20vaccines%E2%80%949%2Dvalent,that%20cause%20most%20HPV%20cancers.
  4. Khoo, B. (2021). There’s another vaccine you should be getting – against cervical and penile cancer. Channel News Asia. Retrieved 19 August 2021, from https://cnalifestyle.channelnewsasia.com/wellness/vaccine-hpv-singapore-cervical-penile-cancer-women-men-237741.
  5. Tan, C. (2020). The Ultimate Guide To HPV Vaccines Singapore For Both Male and Females Against Cancer. Blog.seedly.sg. Retrieved 19 August 2021, from https://blog.seedly.sg/hpv-vaccines-singapore/
  6. MediSave. Retrieved 19 August 2021, from https://www.cpf.gov.sg/members/FAQ/schemes/healthcare/medisave/FAQDetails?category=Healthcare&group=MediSave&ajfaqid=2189489&folderid=12994
  7. STAY ONE STEP AHEAD WITH VACCINATIONS. Healthhub. Retrieved 19 August 2021, from https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/163/vaccinate/.
About the Writer
Liam Hoo
Liam is a history major who guzzles coffee a little too much for his own good. He enjoys sharing his curiosity about the world and eccentric quirks with others. In his spare time, he’s either daydreaming, writing, or daydreaming about writing.
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