The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted disease. It is extremely common, currently affecting almost 80 million people across the United States. That’s approximately one in four individuals. On top of that, it is estimated that 14 million more people will become infected with HPV each year. An HPV infection left untreated can lead to cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women. It can also cause penile cancer in men. For both women and men, this virus is known to cause anal cancer, throat cancer, and genital warts.
Risk of Contracting HPV
Risk of contracting these conditions can be reduced if you get your HPV vaccination early and prior to commencing sexually active. The HPV vaccine is actually encouraged for women ages 9-26. The FDA recommends males these ages also be vaccinated.
The HPV vaccine is a series of 3 shots. The second shot is given 1 or 2 months after the first shot. Then a third shot is given 6 months after the first shot. You must not have an egg or wheat allergy.
Decline in Vaccine-type HPV Infections
HPV vaccines are important because results show a decline in vaccine-type HPV infections. In fact, there was a recent study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases that proves vaccine-type HPV infections decreased by 56 percent amongst female teenagers between 14 to 19 years old. This proves the HPV vaccine has been showing steady results since being FDA approved in the United States in 2006.
Although the HPV vaccine is encouraged for preteens, it is still just important for women to get vaccinated, because every year about 4,000 U.S. women die from cervical cancers that have been medically linked to HPV infection.
The HPV vaccine can be administered to girls as young as 9 years old. However, it is also recommended for women up to age 26, if they didn’t receve the vaccine when they were younger, because HPV infections are more common for women in their early 20s. Also, even if you are already sexually active, you should definitely get your HPV vaccinations. Do not make the mistake of thinking you should skip your HPV vaccinations since the vaccine is less effective for those already having sex. It is still important, necessary, and highly beneficial.
Less Effective in Preventing Infection In Young Women Who Already Had HPV
HPV vaccines are less effective in preventing infection in young women who have already been exposed to HPV because the vaccines do not cure HPV infections or HPV related diseases. HPV vaccines are intended to prevent HPV, not cure it. Currently, there is no known cure for HPV, but the disease can be cleared from a person’s body over time by their own immune system.
To make an appointment for any of the gynecology services available at Women First health Center, please call the office. We proudly offer the HPV Vaccine, Gardasil 9, at our practice. We are committed to high quality care for all women.