- Gardasil HPV Vaccine Information Center
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- What is the HPV vaccine?
- Who should get the HPV vaccine?
- Are there other HPV vaccines in development?
- How and when is the vaccine delivered?
- Is the HPV vaccine effective?
- Is the HPV vaccine safe?
- Does the vaccine contain thimerosal or mercury?
- How long does vaccine protection last? Will a booster shot be needed?
- Will girls and women be protected against HPV and related diseases, even if they don't get all three doses?
- If a woman turns 27 years of age after the first dose of HPV was administered but before the next doses are administered, should the series be completed?
- Does the vaccine protect against cervical cancer?
- How common is cervical cancer?
- Will the women who have been vaccinated still need cervical cancer screening?
- Why is the vaccine only recommended for females ages 9 through 26?
- Why is HPV vaccine recommended for girls 11 to 12 years of age?
- Should pregnant women be vaccinated?
- What about vaccinating males?
- Will my child be required to get the vaccine before she enters school?
- How much will the HPV vaccine cost?
- Will the vaccine be covered by insurance plans?
- How can I get the vaccine if I don't have insurance?
What is the HPV vaccine?
Who should get the HPV vaccine?
CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for all 11 and 12 year old girls. The recommendation allows for vaccination to begin at age nine. Vaccination also is recommended for females aged 13 through 26 years who have not been previously vaccinated or who have not completed the full series of shots.
Are there other HPV vaccines in development?
Another HPV vaccine (being developed by GlaxoSmithKline) is in the final stages of clinical testing, but it is not yet licensed. This vaccine would protect against the two types of HPV that cause most cervical cancers, but does not protect against genital warts.
How and when is the vaccine delivered?
The vaccine is given in a series of three injections over a six-month period. The second and third doses should be given at two and six months (respectively) after the first dose. HPV vaccine may be given at the same time as other vaccines.
Is the HPV vaccine effective?
This vaccine is highly effective in preventing four types of HPV in young women who have not been previously exposed to HPV. This vaccine targets HPV types that cause up to 70% of all cervical cancers and about 90% of genital warts. The vaccine will not treat existing HPV infections or their complications.
Is the HPV vaccine safe?
The FDA has licensed the vaccine as safe and effective. This vaccine has been tested in thousands of females (9 to 26 years of age) around the world. These studies have shown no serious side effects. The most common side effect is brief soreness at the injection site. CDC, working with the FDA, will continue to monitor the safety of the vaccine after it is in general use.
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Does the vaccine contain thimerosal or mercury?
No, there is no thimerosal or mercury in the vaccine.
How long does vaccine protection last?
Will a booster shot be needed? The length of vaccine protection (immunity) is usually not known when a vaccine is first introduced. So far, studies have found that vaccinated persons are protected for five years. More research is being done to find out how long protection will last, and if a booster dose of vaccine will be needed.
Will girls and women be protected against HPV and related diseases, even if they don't get all three doses?
It is not yet known how much protection girls/women would get from receiving only one or two doses of the vaccine. For this reason, it is very important that girls/women get all three doses of the vaccine.
If a woman turns 27 years of age after the first dose of HPV was administered but before the next doses are administered, should the series be completed?
Yes, the series should be completed using the recommended intervals between doses, even if this means that the series is completed after a woman turns 27 years of age.
Does the vaccine protect against cervical cancer?
Yes, HPV vaccine is the first vaccine developed to prevent cervical cancer. This new vaccine is highly effective in preventing HPV infection, the major cause of cervical cancer in women. The vaccine protects against four types of HPV, including two that cause about 70% of cervical cancer.
How common is cervical cancer?
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2014, over 12,000 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and approximately 4,020 women will die from this disease.
Will the girls/women who have been vaccinated still need cervical cancer screening?
Yes, they will still need to see their healthcare provider for cervical cancer screening. There are three reasons why women will still need regular cervical cancer screening. First, the vaccine will NOT provide protection against all types of HPV that cause cervical cancer, so women will still be at risk for some cancers. Second, some women may not get all required doses of the vaccine (or they may not get them at the right times), so they may not get the vaccine's full benefits. Third, women may also not get the vaccine's full benefits if they have already acquired a vaccine HPV type.
Why is the vaccine only recommended for females ages 9 through 26?
The vaccine has been extensively tested in 9 through 26 year-old females so information is only available about vaccine safety and protection for girls/women of this age group. However, studies on the vaccine are now being done in boys/men, as well as in women older than 26 years of age. The FDA will consider licensing the vaccine for these other groups when there is research to show that it is safe and effective in these groups.
Why is HPV vaccine recommended for girls 11 to 12 years of age?
It is important for girls to get HPV vaccine before they become sexually active. The vaccine is most effective for girls/women who get vaccinated before their first sexual contact. It does not work as well for those who were exposed to the virus before getting the vaccine. It is now recommended for boys in the same age group, but has not been apprived for feemales over 26.
Should pregnant women be vaccinated?
The vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women. There has only been limited information about vaccine safety among pregnant women and their unborn babies. So far, studies suggest that the vaccine has not caused health problems during pregnancy, nor has it caused health problems for the child. But more research is still needed. For now, pregnant women should wait to complete their pregnancy before getting the vaccine. If a women finds out she is pregnant after she has started getting the vaccine series, she should wait until after her pregnancy is completed to finish the three-dose series.
What about vaccinating males?
The CDC has now approved Gardasil for boys and recommends they receive it in the same age group as girls.
Will my child be required to get the vaccine before she enters school?
There are no federal laws requiring the immunization of children. All school and daycare entry laws are state laws and vary from state to state. Therefore, you should check with your state health department or Board of Education to find out what vaccines your child will need to enter school or daycare.
Each year the CDC publishes childhood and adolescent immunization schedules that provide recommended timelines for immunization of children and adolescents. The annual childhood and adolescent immunization schedules are a joint effort of the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). While these organizations have no regulatory authority over the immunization of children, the recommendations of the CDC, AAP, and AAFP are considered standards of medical practice and most physicians follow the recommendations.
How much will the HPV vaccine cost?
As of January 2014, the retail price of the vaccine is $125 per dose ($375 for the full series).
Will the vaccine be covered by insurance plans?
Most insurance plans and managed care plans cover recommended vaccines. However, there may be a lag-time after a vaccine is recommended, before it is available and covered by health plans. While some insurance companies may cover the vaccine, others may not.
How can I get the vaccine if I don't have insurance?
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program helps families of children who may not otherwise have access to vaccines by providing free vaccines to doctors who serve them. The VFC program provides free vaccines to children and adolescents younger than 19 years of age, who are either Medicaid-eligible, American Indian, or Alaska Native or uninsured. There are over 45,000 sites that provide VFC vaccines, including hospital, private, and public clinics. The VFC Program also allows children and adolescents to get VFC vaccines through Federally Qualified Health Centers or Rural Health Centers, if their private health insurance does not cover vaccinations. For more information about the VFC, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/
Some states also provide free or low-cost vaccines at public health department clinics to people without health insurance coverage for vaccines.
Sexual Conditions Resources
Centers for Disease Control
Last update: 8/11/2008
Top Gardasil HPV Vaccine Related Articles
Cervical CancerCervical cancer is cancer of the entrance to the womb (uterus). Regular pelvic exams and Pap testing can detect precancerous changes in the cervix. Precancerous changes in the cervix may be treated with cryosurgery, cauterization, or laser surgery. The most common symptom of cancer of the cervix is abnormal bleeding.
Cervical DysplasiaCervical dysplasia is a condition in which the cells of the inner lining of the cervix have precancerous changes. There are two types of cervical dysplasia; 1) squamous intraepithelial lesion, and 2) cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. Cervical dysplasia is caused by infection of the cervix with HPV (human papillomavirus). There are various diagnostic measures for cervical dysplasia. Treatment generally depends upon the progression of the dysplasia: mild, moderate, or severe.
Children's HealthChildren's health is focused on the well-being of children from conception through adolescence. There are many aspects of children's health, including growth and development, illnesses, injuries, behavior, mental illness, family health, and community health.
Female Screening TestsWhat is a health screening? Why is it important to know your blood pressure? How long will your health screening take? Learn about wellness screenings for women for breast cancer, HIV, diabetes, osteoporosis, skin cancer, and more.
Genital Warts PicturesA wart in the moist skin of the genitals or around the anus. See a picture of Genital Warts (HPV) and learn more about the health topic.
Genital Warts In WomenGenital warts is a sexually transmitted infection (STI, STD) caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is the most common STD in the US. The warts can appear anywhere on the skin where sexual contact has occurred.
The warts look like raised, flesh-colored lumps or bumps that have a cauliflower-like appearance. Signs and symptoms of genital warts in women include vaginal, vulva, or groin pain, itching, and burning where the wart(s) is.
Treatment can remove warts or lesions, but it does not prevent spread of the virus, and the warts usually grow back. Removing genital warts does not prevent the infection from spreading elsewhere on the body.
There is no cure for genital warts, and there is no vaccine to prevent them; however, there is a vaccine to prevent infection from four common types of HPV. Gardasil vaccine available for female adolescents and teens to prevent HPV infection and cervical cancer.
HPV Infection Human Papillomavirus
HPVs or human papillomaviruses are a group of viral infections of the skin and mucous membranes. Certain high-risk types of HPV infection cause certain cancers (cervical, penile, anal, vaginal, and oral). There are no signs or symptoms of HPV infection.
HPV infection is an extremely common STD, and is highly contagious. A person is at a higher risk of getting HPV infection if they
- have a number of different sex partners;
- have a weakened immune system (for example, HIV/AIDS); or
- has breaks in the skin (cuts or abrasions) that come into contact with an infected person or contaminated surface.
HPV vaccinations are available to prevent HPV infection. Treatment for HPV infection are antiviral medications. There is no cure for HPV infection.
Mercury is a naturally occurring element found in water, soil, and the air. Mercury also is contained in some fish, some of the products we use in the home, school, or dentist. Symptoms of mercury poisoning include:
- Decline in cognitive function
- Skin rashes
- Mood swings
Information about sources of mercury exposure, potential health effects, symptoms of exposure, fish that may contain mercury, consumer products that contain mercury, and ways to reduce your exposure to mercury is important for the health of you, and your family.
Pap SmearA Pap smear (Pap test) is a medical procedure to screen for abnormal cells of the cervix. A woman should have her first Pap smear (in general) three years after vaginal intercourse, or no later than 21 years of age. The risks for women at increased risk for having an abnormal Pap smear include: HPV (genital warts), smoking, a weakened immune system, medications (diethylstilbestrol), and others. Some of the conditions that may result in an abnormal Pap smear include: absence of endocervical cells, unreliable Pap smear due to inflammation, atypical squamous cells (ASCUS), low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL), high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (HSIL), cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), and carcinoma in situ.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs In Women)
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, are infections that are transmitted during any type of sexual exposure, including intercourse (vaginal or anal), oral sex, and the sharing of sexual devices, such as vibrators. Women can contract all of the STDs, but may have no symptoms, or have different symptoms than men do. Common STDs in women are:
- Zika virus
- Genital herpes
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
- Pubic lice
- Genital warts
Treatment for STDs depends upon the type.
STDs in Men Overview
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections transmitted during sexual contact. They may be caused by viruses, bacteria, or parasites. STDs in men cause no symptoms or symptoms like
genital burning, itching, sores, rashes, or discharge.
Common infections that are sexually transmitted in men include gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis C and B, genital warts, human papillomavirus (HPV), and genital herpes.
Some STDs in men are treatable while others are not. STDs are diagnosed with tests that identify proteins or genetic material of the organisms causing the infection. The prognosis of an STD depends on whether the infection is treatable or not. Use of latex condoms can help reduce the risk of contracting an STD but it does not eliminate the risk entirely.
TeenagersTeenagers recognize that they are developmentally between child and adult. Teen health prevention includes maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, preventing injuries and screening annually for potential health conditions that could adversely affect teenage health.
Viral InfectionsWatch this slideshow on Viral Infections and learn about types, treatment, and prevention of illnesses caused by viruses.