The Human Papillomavirus, commonly referred to as HPV, has become a widespread concern for women over the last fifteen years. Thanks to developments in modern medicine we also know that this virus can lead to other complications such as herpes, genital warts and several types of cancer. Also, we now know that this virus is very common.
Most of the people who contract HPV are sexually active and contacted it from a sexual partner. They may never know they’ve contracted the virus because symptoms are elusive, which can lead to HPV to be undiagnosed for long periods of time – even years. While annual trips to the gynecologist can help uncover the virus, the HPV vaccination blocks the most common strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer.
The vaccine is administered through three rounds of shots over a time period of six months. Both males and females are eligible for the vaccine since HPV can cause cancers in both sexes. The FDA has licensed the vaccination to be effective for females between the ages of nine and twenty-six. The CDC recommends that all girls that are eleven or twelve years old get the vaccination. But, if the vaccination was not received at a younger age, women have until the age of twenty-six to receive the shot.
It is important to note that recommending girls aged eleven or twelve to receive an immunization for a sexually transmitted disease has been a hot topic of debate. While many parents believe that the precaution would encourage their children to become promiscuous, the truth is that the immunization works best if all three doses can be delivered well before a child becomes sexually active. Additionally, the vaccine helps children’s immune systems by producing a higher count of antibodies to fight infection.
Furthermore, there have been concerns among parent in regards to safety. The FDA has confirmed that the vaccine is both safe and effective. The immunizations have been tested in many countries and approximately 46,000 people in the United States as of 2012. In these studies, there have been no serious side effects related to the vaccine. Though, as with many other shots, soreness at the administration site is regular.
Also, it is vital for both men and women to be vaccinated prior to the possibility of exposure to the virus. While the shot prevents HPV, it will not treat an existing infection. Additionally, women should undergo an annual cervical cancer screening by their gynecologist even if they did receive the vaccine.