The human papillomavirus (HPV), is a very common sexually transmitted disease that most people will have at some point during their lifetime. While there are certain strains that the body will naturally shed without complications, there are certain forms of HPV that can increase a woman’s risk for cervical cancer. This is why it’s important to consider getting the HPV vaccine from a gynecologist.
Who should get the HPV vaccine?
Most gynecologists will recommend that preteens get the HPV vaccine around 11-12 years old; however, children as young as nine years old can get vaccinated. The vaccine is for teens and young adults between the ages of nine and 26 years old.
How is the HPV vaccine administered?
There are several doses that you will need to be fully vaccinated against certain strains of HPV. If getting the vaccine at 11-12 years old or before their 15th birthday, only two doses are needed. The first dose will be administered then. The second dose will be administered 6-12 months apart. If your teenager decides to get the vaccine between the ages of 15 to 26 years old, they will require three doses.
While the HPV vaccine is not recommended for adults over 26 years old, you may want to speak with your OBGYN about your risk factors to determine if you could still benefit from getting vaccinated. In some instances, the HPV vaccine may actually benefit you later in life.
When should someone not get the HPV vaccine?
If you are currently pregnant, you have an allergy to any of the ingredients in the HPV vaccine or you have a yeast allergy, then you should not get the HPV vaccine. Otherwise, this vaccine is safe for all children and teens.
How effective is the HPV vaccine?
There are three different types of HPV vaccines that have been approved by the FDA and they all protect against the nine HPV types that can cause cervical cancer. Studies have found that the efficacy of the vaccine can last up to 12 years or, possibly, longer. There are also significantly fewer women and teenage girls presenting with HPV since the vaccines were first approved in 2006.
Are you interested in learning more about the HPV vaccine? Want to talk with a gynecologist about whether the vaccine is right for you or your teenager? If so, call a gynecologist today to schedule a consultation.