Government of New Brunswick

1) What is HPV and the HPV vaccine

HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is the most common sexually transmitted infection that is spread through skin-to-skin contact during sex.  Over 70% of women and men will contract HPV at some point in their lifetime

Often HPV infections will have no symptoms and most infections go away by themselves within two years. But sometimes, HPV infections can lead to several types of cancers in men and women, including cervical, oral pharyngeal, anal, and penile.  One way to lower your risks and protect yourself from HPV infections and related cancers is to get vaccinated for HPV. 

The HPV vaccine (Gardasil®9) is provided free of charge through New Brunswick public health for:

  • Grade 7 females or those born in 1995 and later, until they reach 27 years of age.
  • Grade 7 males or those born in 2005 and later, until they reach 27 years of age.

For those who do not meet NB’s eligibility criteria, the HPV vaccine can be purchased at a pharmacy with a prescription from a doctor or nurse practitioner.

The Gardasil®9 vaccine protects against nine HPV types known to cause cervical cancers in women and anogenital cancers in men and women. 

Remember - regular Pap test screening, together with HPV vaccination, are the best ways to protect women against any other types of HPV not included in the vaccine.  

More information on HPV and the vaccine is available here.

2) I have had the HPV vaccine. Do I still need to have a Pap test?

Yes. The HPV vaccine will protect you from a few types of HPV. By getting regular Pap tests you will make sure abnormal cells due to other types of HPV or other causes will be detected early and treated if necessary.

3) What is an HPV test and why is it needed?

The HPV test checks for the presence of high-risk HPV types. Research shows that HPV testing can help identify women who presently have cervical lesions or are most likely to have precancerous changes and are at risk of developing cervical cancer.

In NB, the HPV test is recommended only for use in women 30 years of age and older as a follow-up to specific abnormal Pap test results.  An HPV test is usually completed from a Pap test specimen. The HPV test is not used as a replacement for the Pap test.

More information on HPV testing is available at the Canadian Cancer Society.

New Brunswick’s HPV  testing recommendations can be found at: New Brunswick Cervical Cancer Prevention and Screening Program Clinical Practice Guidelines.