The provincial public health authority - Sante et Services Sociaux Quebec, has started a new Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination campaign. HPVs are responsible for 100% of the cases of cervical cancer.
As of 2008, the vaccine has been offered for free to pre-adolescent and teenaged girls (currently available for boys also). However, since then, the responsiveness of the targeted population has been only reducing. The complications and the secondary reactions have raised safety concerns, as well as the lack of accessibility to gynaecologic specialists that should monitor any health changes accordingly, make the vaccine itself a risk as high as the HPV itself that most parents are not willing to take.
HPV infection can be acquired after a person becomes sexually active. These infections are considered the most common sexually transmitted infections in both men and women. About three sexually active individuals out of four will be infected by at least one type of HPV over the course of their lifetimes.
About 325 cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed annually in Quebec; cervical cancer causes about 80 deaths a year in the province.