The HPV vaccine protects against infection by certain strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV) that can cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
HPV spreads mostly through sexual contact. Almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV. HPV vaccination is expected to prevent about 70% of cervical cancer cases.
HPV is a common virus that is spread through sexual intercourse. There are many different types of HPV, and many do not cause problems. However, certain types of HPV can lead to cervical cancer (and genital warts).
Two vaccines are currently available to prevent cervical cancer in girls and young women. These vaccines do not treat cervical cancer, however.
The vaccines are called Gardasil and Cervarix.
WHO SHOULD GET THIS VACCINE
Gardasil is approved for:
Cervarix is approved for:
CURRENT IMMUNIZATION RECOMMENDATIONS:
Routine HPV immunization is recommended for 11- and 12-year-old girls. The vaccine is given in 3 shots over a 6-month period. (The second and third doses are given 2 and 6 months after the first dose.)
One brand of vaccine can be substituted for another in the 3-dose series. The HPV vaccine can be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Girls as young as 9 can receive the vaccine if their doctor recommends it.
Girls and women ages 13 - 26 who have not been previously immunized or who have not completed the full vaccine series should get vaccinated to catch up on missed doses. (Note: Some groups do not recommend women between 19 and 26 receive catch-up doses of this vaccine. Talk with your provider if you are this age group.)
Routine use of the HPV vaccine in boys and men is not recommended. However, a health care provider may still decide to use it on a specific patient.
Pregnant women should not receive this vaccine.
The most common side effects are fainting, dizziness, nausea, headache, and skin reactions at the site where the shot was given.
The HPV vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV that lead to cervical cancer. Girls and women should still receive regular screening (Pap tests) to look for any early signs of cervical cancer. See: Pap smear
The HPV vaccine does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections.
CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF
Vaccine - HPV; Immunization - HPV; Gardasil; Cervarix; Vaccine to prevent cervical cancer