What’s the deal with the HPV vaccine?
Someone asked us…
what’s the deal with the HPV vaccine? should i get it? what does it even do?
The HPV vaccine is really awesome and important. Human Papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common STD out there — nearly all sexually active people will get HPV at some point in their lives. Most of the time, these infections are harmless and go away on their own. However, some types of HPV have been linked to cancer and genital warts.
There are two HPV vaccines out there right now: Gardasil and Cervarix. Both vaccines are given in a series of three separate shots over six months.
Like the common cold or the flu, there are a LOT of different types of HPV. Like, more than 100. Types 16 and 18 cause about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, and both Gardasil and Cervarix protect against these. Gardasil also protects against types 6 and 11 – the two that cause about 90 percent of genital warts.
The HPV vaccine is recommended for all people between the ages of 11-12. That’s because it works best if gotten before becoming sexually active. But you can totally get it up through age 26. Just keep in mind that it doesn’t cure HPV if you already have it. Like all vaccines, it’s prevention, not treatment. So the earlier you get it, the better it works.
With a new school year around the corner, now’s the perfect time to get the HPV vaccine and spread the word about how important it is. So if you, a friend, sibling, or anyone else you know between the ages of 9 and 26 still haven’t gotten the vaccine, encourage them to talk to their nurse or doctor. Or call your nearest Planned Parenthood — our health centers provide nearly 40,000 HPV vaccines a year, so we’ve gotten pretty good at it!
-Kellie at Planned Parenthood