What is Gardasil and who should get the HPV vaccine?
HPV, or genital human papillomavirus, is the leading cause of cervical cancer and genital warts and it can be prevented by getting the HPV vaccine. There are about 40 different HPV types that can infect the genitals of both men and women. Most types of human papillomavirus don't even cause symptoms and simply go away, but some types can cause cervical cancer and genital warts in women. While genital warts themselves are not life-threatening, they can cause physical discomfort and emotional distress.
Genital HPV is passed through sex and is quite common amongst sexually active people. While HPV is most common amongst teenagers and people in their early 20s, most sexually active people will actually get HPV at some point.
The vaccine that targets the most common cervical cancer-causing types of HPV and genital warts is Gardasil®. This vaccine can prevent about 70% of cervical cancers and is recommended for girls and women from ages 11 to 26 years old, but can be administered to girls as young as 9 years old. Gardasil® consists of 3 doses with the second dose coming 2 months after the first. The third and final dose will come 6-12 months after the first.
Get more information on HPV vaccinations.
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