What You Need to Know About the HPV Vaccine
HPV has been a hot topic in the news lately in part because most sexually active people will contract this disease at some point in their lives. Most types of HPV will eventually go away on their own and have no real symptoms or side effects but other strains of HPV can cause cervical cancer, genital warts, and other types of cancers. That is why getting the HPV vaccine is an important step in preventative health care. The vaccine itself consists of 3 shots over a 6 month span and protect against most types of HPV (but not all). This is important to note because just getting the vaccine does not eliminate the need for consistent cervical cancer screenings throughout adulthood.
So who should get this vaccine? It is recommended that girls ages 11-12 receive the vaccine (and as early as age 9). The vaccine can also be administered to women 13-26 as well who have not had the vaccine but the ideal time is before a woman becomes sexually active and is exposed to the HPV virus. There is also an HPV vaccine (Gardasil and Gardasil 9) that are approved for boys ages 11-12 as well as those ages 13-19 years old who have not been vaccinated. The vaccine is more effective when given at a younger age.
These vaccines have been approved and licensed by the FDA and have been deemed safe and effective. Studies involving thousands of participants showed no serious safety concerns. Most health insurance plans cover the cost of the HPV vaccine. For more information about the vaccine and other ways to lower your risks of HPV contact me by scheduling an appointment. I look forward to answering all of your questions!