Human Papilloma Virus
Human Papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. It is easily spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity with another person. It can unknowingly be spread to another person, as someone may have HPV and not have symptoms. HPV infection may lead to medical conditions, some of which can have serious health impact:
- Genital warts
- Cervical cancer
- Cancers of the vulva and vagina
- Other types of cancer in both men and women
Immunizations Against HPV
Two immunizations are available to protect against the types of HPV that cause the most cases of HPV-related diseases and health problems. HPV vaccine is given as a 3-dose series over six months.
Gardasil: Protects against cervical cancer, vaginal and vulvar cancer, and genital warts.
Cervarix: Protects against the types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers.
Protection from HPV vaccine is expected to be long-lasting. But vaccination is not a substitute for cervical cancer screening. Women should still get regular Pap tests.
Immunization Is Recommended For:
- Girls 11 and 12 years of age.
- Girls and women 13 through 26 years of age who did not ALL THREE of the recommended doses when they were younger.
- These vaccines can also be given to girls beginning at age 9. It is important for girls to get the HPV vaccine before their first sexual contact and exposure to HPV.