The HPV vaccination is the best protection against the human papillomavirus
Even though there are over 100 types of HPV, only about 40 types cause the sexually transmitted infection, or STI. In the United States, HPV is the most common STI. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. About 14 million people become newly infected each year.” Our Round Rock obgyns want to help patients understand the importance of the HPV vaccination and how it protects young people against this dangerous infection.
HPV can cause genital warts and cancer
HPV causes sexually transmitted infections and other diseases.
- Cancer of the cervix, vagina, penis, anus, mouth and throat
- Genital warts, which are benign growths that can grow inside or outside the penis, on the cervix and around the vulva and anus.
Three types of HPV vaccinations are available, including Gardisil, Gardisil 9 and Cervarix. Each one protects against most types of cervical cancer. In addition, Gardisil and Gardisil 9 add protection against most types of genital warts. The FDA has also approved Gardisil 9 as a preventive measure against 90% of cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal cancers.
How is HPV transmitted?
The virus is transmitted by sexual activity, including vaginal, anal and oral sex. Most people do not realize that they have HPV because they don’t have any signs or symptoms.
Who should receive the HPV vaccination?
Since almost every man and woman who becomes sexually active will get HPV at some point in their lives, the ideal time to receive the HPV vaccination is at the age of 11 or 12, before the person becomes sexually active and risks exposure to the virus.
If a woman did not receive the HPV vaccination at a young age or before becoming sexually active, our Round Rock obgyns can still provide the vaccination until the age of 26. If given before a woman is sexually active, the vaccine will protect against 99% of HPV-related cancer. In women under the age of 26 who are already sexually active and infected with HPV, the HPV vaccination can help protect against other forms of HPV that they may not be infected with yet.
Is the HPV vaccination safe?
After years of extensive testing, the FDA has approved all three types of HPV vaccinations and has not identified any serious safety issues. Most people don’t experience any side effects as a result of the HPV vaccination. If a person does experience side effects, they are mild and may include fever, nausea, headache, muscle or joint pain, or redness, swelling or pain at the injection site.