Find out who can get vaccines, what they do, when to get them to protect against STIs.

Vaccines fight the spread of infectious diseases. Vaccines are available for three of the most common STIs: HPV, Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B.

HPV

  • What is HPV?

    Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common STI in Canada. Three out of four women will have an HPV infection at some time. Some types of HPV cause genital warts. This type is commonly passed by skin-to-skin contact during vaginal and anal sex.

    More serious types of HPV can lead to cervical cancer. Other types of HPV may cause cancer of the penis, vulva, anus, and throat.

    Learn more about HPV, its symptoms and how it is transmitted.

  • What is the HPV vaccine?

    There are three types of HPV vaccines available in Canada and approved by Health Canada: Gardasil, Cervarix, and Gardasil 9.

    The Gardasil 9 vaccine (HPV9) helps prevent against diseases associated with nine HPV types that are known to cause approximately 90 per cent of cervical cancers, 80 per cent of cervical precancers, 75 per cent of HPV-related vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers and precancers, and over 90 per cent of genital warts.

    Learn more about the HPV vaccine.

  • When should I get vaccinated?

    The HPV vaccine works best when it is given before sexual activity begins. It is provided free to:

    • Girls in grade 6
    • Girls and young women born in 1994 or later who missed getting the HPV4 vaccine
    • Males aged nine to 26 who are at increased risk of HPV infection

    The HPV vaccine is recommended but not provided free for:

    • Adult women up to 45 years of age
    • Boys and men nine to 26 years of age
    • Men 27 years of age and older who have sex with men

    The HPV9 vaccine is recommended for girls and women aged nine to 45 and boys and men aged nine to 26. The HPV2 vaccine is not currently approved for males. These vaccines are not routinely provided for free.

    Speak to a health professional to see if you should get the vaccine. View the recommended B.C. immunization schedule.

  • Are there any side effects?

    Common and not serious reactions to all vaccines, including the HPV vaccine, include:

    • Soreness, redness and swelling where the vaccine was given
    • Fatigue, headache, and fever
    • Muscle or joint ache
  • How much does the vaccine cost?

    If you are not eligible for the free HPV vaccine (see if you qualify above), you can buy it from most pharmacies and travel health clinics.

  • Where can I get vaccinated?

    Speak to your doctor or another health-care professional to see if you should receive the HPV vaccine, or to ask questions. Find a clinic.

Hepatitis A and B

  • What is hepatitis A and B?

    The STIs hepatitis A and B are inflammations of the liver caused by the hepatitis A and B viruses. Vaccines are available to help prevent both infections.

    • Although you may associate hepatitis A with contaminated food and water, it is also considered an STI. That’s because it can be transmitted through oral-anal sex (rimming) and from person to person.
    • Hepatitis B is commonly passed through unprotected sex with an infected person, or by sharing toothbrushes, razors, or other items with infected blood on them.

    Learn more about the hepatitis A and B viruses, symptoms, and how they are transmitted.

  • When should I get vaccinated?

    The hepatitis A vaccine is offered free to:

    • Aboriginal babies 6 months of age and older as a series of two doses
    • Children and adults at high risk of infection

    See the full list of who can receive the hepatitis A vaccine.

    The hepatitis B vaccine is offered to:

    • Babies as part of their routine immunizations
    • People born in 1980 or later who have never received the vaccine or have not received the recommended number of doses for their age
    • Children and adults at high risk of infection

    See the full list of who can receive the hepatitis B vaccine.

    People who are likely to come in contact with or spread the hepatitis A and B viruses can pay to receive the vaccine.

  • Where can I get vaccinated?

    Speak to your doctor or another health-care professional to see if you should receive the hepatitis A or B vaccine, or to ask questions. Find a clinic.

  • How much does the vaccine cost?

    If you are not eligible for the free vaccines (see if you qualify above), you can buy it from most pharmacies and travel health clinics.

  • Where are the side effects?

    Common mild reactions to the hepatitis A and B vaccines may include:

    • Soreness, redness and swelling where the vaccine was given
    • Fatigue, headache, and fever
    • Stomach upset