Can you prevent HPV?

As we explained on earlier posts. HPV is easily spread by skin to skin contact during sexual activity with another person. It is possible to have HPV without knowing, so it is possible to unknowingly spread HPV to another person.

HPV Vaccine is a strong weapon in prevention. Whether you are a man or a woman, it protects against some of the most common HPV types and health problems that the virus can cause.


What are the options available? 

In the U.S. There are two vaccines licensed by the FDA and recommended by CDC.

Cervarix (GlaxoSmithKline)

Gardasil (Merck)

Do both function the same? 

Only Gardasil vaccine protects against HPV 6 and 11, the types that cause most warts, both in men and women. Also this vaccine has been tested and licensed for use in males.

Both of them protect against HPV 16, the most common HPV type responsible for HPV associated cancers including cancers of cervix, vulva, vagina, penis and anus. However only Gardasil has been tested and shown to protect against precancers of the vulva, vagina and anus.


Who should get the HPV vaccine?

Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines are licensed, safe and effective for women and also for men, ranging from 9 to 26 years.

The recommended age to take the vaccine is around the 11 to 12 years, getting 3 doses (shots).

All men and women may receive the vaccine through age 26, and should speak with their doctor to find out if getting vaccinated is right for them.


What is the timing of the 3 doses? 

The doses (shots) are recommended over six months.


Can HPV vaccines treat HPV infections, cancers or warts? 

No. HPV vaccines will not treat or get rid of existing HPV infections. Also, HPV vaccines do not treat or cure health problems (like cancer or warts) caused by an HPV infection that occurred before vaccination. It means that if you are already living with the HPV it will not make any effect. However there are treatments to fight symptoms. And avoid the spread of the virus.


What if I am over 26? 

Both vaccines are not licensed in the U.S. For persons over age 26 years. Gardasil has not been demonstrated to prevent HPV-related outcomes in a general population of women and men olther than 26 years of age.


What if I am pregnant?

Studies show neither vaccine caused problems for babies born to women who got the HPV vaccine while they were pregnant. Getting the HPV vaccine when pregnant is not a reason to consider ending a pregnancy. But, to be on the safe side until even more is known, a pregnant woman should not get any doses of either HPV vaccine until her pregnancy is completed.


Who should not take the HPV vaccine? 

Anyone who has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to any component of HPV vaccine, or to a previous dose of HPV vaccine, should not get the vaccine. Talk to your physician,  if the person getting vaccinated has any severe allergies, including an allergy to latex (Cervarix) or yeast (Gardasil).

HPV vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. However, receiving HPV vaccine when pregnant is not a reason to consider terminating the pregnancy. Women who are breast feeding may get the vaccine.



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