The last week of every April is World Immunization Week. It’s observed by all member countries of the World Health Organization. Previously, everyone had different public health activities on this topic, but in 2012 it was solidified into one world-wide campaign. The purpose is to recognize that 25 different preventable diseases and illnesses that immunizations can help protect you against.
Immunizations aren’t just for babies or exotic travel. There are different immunizations that are important for your intimate health as well!
Hepatitis A & B
You might associate Hepatitis A with contaminated water or food, but it can actually also be transmitted through unprotected rimming (analingus). Hepatitis B can be passed through unprotected sex with an infected person, or by sharing toothbrushes, razors, or other items with infected blood on them.
You probably got vaccinations for Hep A and B earlier in your life, but it is important to check in certain situations, as you may lose immunity. For example, anal sex has a much higher Hepatitis B transmission rate, so if that’s part of your regular sex life, or your partner has previously had a lot of anal sex partners with men or women, you should have your immunity checked.
We’ve written a lot about how HPV causes most cases of cervical cancer. Roughly three quarters of the reproductive-aged population will have a strain of HPV at some point during their life. Luckily, most of them won’t see any effects. Most HPV strains are innocuous, and will go away on their own as your body passes the infection. However, the high-risk strains are strains 16 and 18.
Many public health organizations started advocating for HPV vaccinations for young women (and later, young men) in high school, so you may already have had your immunizations. Previously, it was only recommended for those under 25, but those guidelines are changing. Talk to your primary care provider, or an immunization specialist today to protect yourself and your partners!
Lane Baumeister is an internationally-based Canadian writer with several years’ experience creating educational and entertaining articles that discuss intimate health and sexual well-being. When not waxing profound about menstruation, she devotes herself to enjoying extremely good food and equally bad movies.