HPV or Human papillomavirus is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections among men and women. It is common in the United States and every year around 14 million people get affected by this infection. Most of the men and women who are sexually active get exposed to the virus at some point in their life.
HPV can cause certain types of cancer or can result in genital warts. 19,400 women get cancer that stems from HPV (a number much higher than affected men). However, the vaccine Gardasil 9 has gotten approval to be used for both men and women aged between 27 – 45 years of age. Previously this vaccination was approved only for women up to 26 years of age, but with the discovery of the immunization that can be used for women above this age, it can literally protect women from certain cancers like cervical cancers, oral cancers, and vulvar, vaginal, and cervical precancerous lesions.
Dr. Lauren Streicher, MD, of the Northwestern Medicine Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause asserted about Gardasil 9 vaccination, "It's huge because this [older, previously disregarded] population is very much exposed to, and suffering the consequences of, HPV and will now have the opportunity to be protected”… “In a perfect world we want to prevent cancer and it's essentially an anti-cancer vaccine”.
Some important facts about Gardasil 9 vaccine:
- Gardasil 9 vaccine was always an important immunization for both boys and girls to protect them against certain types of cancer and infection caused by 9 types of HPV later in life.
- HPV vaccination is a series of immunization dosage for your child that has to be completed within the stipulated time as advised by the doctor.
- There are a number of side effects that may be experienced after getting a shot of the vaccination like -
- Swelling & redness
- Pain & itchiness
- It is recommended that a young person gets the vaccination shot before getting sexually active.
- The vaccination can protect you against the 9 strains of HPV but if you have already been exposed to any particular strain of HPV, the vaccine will not work against that particular strain. It will prevent the other strains from affecting you.
- Dr. Ginger J. Gardner, MD, FACOG, and gynecologic surgeon at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center says that the Gardasil 9 vaccine boosts the immune system to protect women against cervical and other challenging gynecologic cancers.
- Dr. Lauren Streicher has emphasized on the fact that if a certain woman has already been diagnosed with HPV, she should still get the vaccination done because "A woman is likely to live well into her '80s or ‘90s and if we can prevent the [gynecologic] cancers she might get by vaccinating now, it gives her a great advantage”.
- Medical researchers have also stressed the fact that Gardasil 9 vaccination can prevent up to 93% of cervical cancer cases. And since STDs are always at a higher rate, it is best to get a preventive biological treatment done to prevent exposure to HPV.
Did you get your HPV vaccination yet? If not, visit your gynecologist today for more information and professional advice. Spread the word on the Gardasil vaccination and save a fellow woman.