Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections are extremely common, affecting more than 80% of sexually active adult women in the US. HPV infections can cause genital warts and are a significant risk factor for several cancers including cervical, anal and head and neck cancers. Primary prevention through vaccination with the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, is key to protecting yourself against the effects of HPV infection.
Our office offers vaccination with Gardasil 9 for appropriate individuals. With optimal vaccination, Gardasil provides better than 99% protection against the 9 most concerning strains of HPV. These strains are collectively responsible for more than 90% of genital warts and 80-90% of cervical cancers in the US.
Who Should Receive a Gardasil Vaccination?
For women over age 15 the vaccine is given as a series of three injections over 6 months. Millions of individuals have been vaccinated against HPV and, thus far, no serious side effects have been shown to be caused by the vaccine. The most common side effects are typically brief and are similar to those commonly experienced with other vaccines. Gardasil vaccine side effects can include redness or soreness at the injection site, low grade fever, headache and, occasionally, fainting.
Gardasil is optimally given around age 11-12 and before the onset of sexual activity, but catch up vaccination later in life is still recommended through the age of 26. Gardasil is now also approved for use in adults ages 27-45, although decision for vaccination in this population is more individualized. Talk with your doctor to see if you should consider getting Gardasil.
What Should I Know About the Vaccination?
Here are a few things to note about the HPV vaccine:
- You do not need to be tested for HPV before you get vaccinated
- It is best to get the HPV vaccine before you start having sex
- If you are between 13 and 26 and have not received the vaccine, you should do so regardless of whether or not you are already sexually active
- The vaccine does not protect you from all types of HPV
- The vaccine is not a treatment for current HPV infections
- The vaccine will not prevent all cases of cervical cancers
- You should still have regular PAP tests even after you receive the vaccine
- You should get the vaccine even if you already have an HPV infection because the vaccine can protect you from other types of HPV
- The doctors at Raleigh Gynecology & Wellness can talk with you about the HPV vaccine and your ongoing health care program
- The vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women, but is safe for women who are breastfeeding
Contact the Professionals at Raleigh Gynecology & Wellness
If you have any questions regarding the vaccination or would like to book an appointment to receive the Gardasil vaccination, contact the professionals at Raleigh Gynecology & Wellness today. Reach out to our staff by calling us at 919.636.6670 or schedule an appointment online today.