The HPV vaccine protects against infection by certain strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV can cause cervical cancer and genital warts.
HPV is a common virus that is spread through sexual contact. There are many different types of HPV, and many do not cause problems. However, certain types of HPV can lead to:
Two vaccines (called Gardasil and Cervarix) are approved:
WHO SHOULD GET THIS VACCINE
Gardasil is approved for:
Cervarix is approved for:
Girls ages 11 and 12 should receive the HPV vaccine series:
Girls and women ages 13 - 26:
Boys and men ages 9 - 26:
Pregnant women should not receive this vaccine. However, there have been no problems found in women who received the vaccine during pregnancy, before they knew they were pregnant.
The most common side effects are fainting, dizziness, nausea, headache, and skin reactions at the site where the shot was given.
To prevent injury from fainting, adolescent girls should be watched for 15 minutes after getting the vaccination.
WHAT ELSE TO THINK ABOUT
The HPV vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV that lead to cervical cancer. Girls and women should still receive regular screening (Pap tests) to look for any early signs of cervical cancer. See: Pap smear
The HPV vaccine does not protect against other infections that can be spread during sexual contact.
CALL YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER IF
Vaccine - HPV; Immunization - HPV; Gardasil; Cervarix; Vaccine to prevent cervical cancer
Kahn JA. HPV vaccination for the prevention of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. N Engl J Med. 2009 Jul 16;361(3):271-8.
Slade BA, Leidel L, Vellozzi C, Woo EJ, Hua W, Sutherland A, et al. Postlicensure safety surveillance for quadrivalent human papillomavirus recombinant vaccine. JAMA. 2009 Aug 19;302(7):750-7.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. FDA licensure of bivalent human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV2, Cervarix) for use in females and updated HPV vaccination recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2010;59(20):626-629.
Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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