You might have been hearing talk about a great new technology that prevents an STD and even some cancers. Here's the lowdown on the HPV Vaccine.
Why get the HPV Vaccine?
The HPV vaccine protects against four strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV), which cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts. Genital HPV is a virus passed on through genital contact, particularly through sexual intercourse. At least 50% of sexually active adults contract HPV during their lives, making it even more important to get the vaccine. Although some strains of HPV have no symptoms, others cause genital warts, cervical cancer, or other cancers of the labia and vagina. back to top
When is the best time to get the vaccine?
The vaccine is recommended for girls aged 11 to 12, but it is safe for girls as young as 9 and is effective until the age of 26. It is better to get the vaccine before you are sexually active. It is unclear whether it is as effective after a girl has contracted HPV. back to top
How do I get the vaccine?
The vaccine comes in three installments. The second shot comes two months after the first shot and third shots comes four months after that. back to top
Can I afford it?
Although the vaccine is $360 for the entire set without health insurance, most major health insurance carriers cover it. A federal health program called Vaccines for Children (VFC) will cover the cost of the vaccine for children under the age of 19 that are uninsured, eligible for Medicaid, or are American Indian or Alaskan Native.back to top
Does getting the HPV Vaccine mean I'll never have to get Pap-Smears?
After you get the HPV vaccine, it is still strongly recommended to get Pap-Smears when you are old enough or are sexually active. Not all strains of HPV are prevented with the vaccine, so it is very important to get checked! back to top
Am I safe getting the HPV Vaccine?
The short answer is: yes. In June 2006 the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended the vaccine, and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) licensed it for girls aged 9-26.
Information in this article has come from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). To read more, see the website of the CDC.