What You Should Know about the HPV Vaccine

If you have a young son or daughter you may want to consider protecting them with the HPV vaccination. Currently there are two vaccinations available (Cervarix and Gardasil) that help prevent up to four strains of HPV. Here is some more information about HPV and the vaccinations that are available. Vaccine

What is HPV?
HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus and is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the country. About 50 percent of adult males and females have carried HPV at one point in their lives. While there are about 40 strains of the virus currently known, four are the most common. Two of those strains are known to cause cervical cancer in women.

The HPV Vaccine
The vaccine is administered as three shots and can protect against HPV infection and prevent HPV-related diseases.The current vaccinations (Cervarix and Gardasil) protect against most cervical cancers in women. One of the vaccines (Gardasil) can also protect against genital warts and some other cancers such as cancers of the anus, vagina and vulva. Both of these vaccines are available for females, but Gardasil is the only HPV vaccine available for males. The HPV vaccine offers the greatest benefit when all three doses are received before an individual becomes sexual activity, so it is recommended that boys and girls receive the vaccination around age 11 or 12. However, the vaccination is available for both boys and girls ages 12 to 26.  Remember that people currently infected with HPV should not seek the vaccination for treatment.

Side effects of the vaccine
Side effects of the vaccination can vary from person to person. Some of the side effects may include:

  • Slight dizziness
  • Mild fever
  • Redness or swelling at the injection site
  • Headache

Remember that it is important to contact your physician or your child’s physician before considering the HPV vaccination. Because of how recent the vaccination is you should educate yourself before making a decision. For more information on the benefits and side effects of the HPV vaccination, please visit us online at Oak Hill Hospital. Feel free to call our Consult-A-Nurse program anytime at 1-888-741-5120.

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