What All Patients Should Know About the HPV Vaccine

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Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. There are more than 40 different types of HPV, which together are responsible for about 14 million new infections each year.

In most patients, the body’s immune system is able to clear the HPV infection on its own, over time. However, there are times when the body cannot clear the HPV infection which can lead to cervical cancer, anal cancer, or anogenital warts.

These statistics may sound scary, but the good news is that HPV can be easily prevented with a vaccine called Gardasil. Gardasil protects against the nine types of HPV that are responsible for the vast majority of HPV-related cancers and anogenital warts.

Gardasil has been approved since 2004 for use in younger patients, but the FDA recently announced an expanded approval for the vaccine. The organization now recommends that men and women up to age 45 receive the Gardasil vaccine. This new recommendation is based on research indicating that Gardasil is safe and effective in this age group.

The ideal time to receive Gardasil is during early adolescence (around age 11 or 12), but patients who were not vaccinated as teens now have the opportunity to receive the vaccination as adults. Serious side effects with Gardasil are rare, and you can not get HPV or any HPV-related diseases from the vaccine. However, mild side effects can occur, such as pain or swelling where the injection was given.

The Gardasil vaccine is available from our office by prescription, and is often covered by insurance. It’s typically administered as three separate injections given over the course of six months. To schedule an appointment for Gardasil, you can book an appointment online below, or contact the office at 310-360-6807.

Take an important step in protecting your present and future health.