HPV Vaccination (Gardasil)
Affecting both men and women, HPV or Human Papillomavirus can be contracted through any kind of sexual activity. Some people with HPV do not show any symptoms of the virus and can unknowingly transmit this common viral disease. Occurring in a large segment of our population, approximately 20 million Americans were diagnosed with genital HPV in 2005; six million new cases are confirmed each year in the United States. Though most people’s own bodily defenses eradicate the HPV virus, some types of HPV can cause genital warts. Other varieties of the virus can cause precancerous changes in the cells lining the cervix that can later develop into cervical cancer.
Most women are diagnosed with HPV through abnormal pap-smear findings resulting from their well-women exam. A more thorough analysis of the pap is then performed by the lab to find out if a patient has HPV. In most cases, HPV testing is covered by insurance once every three years for women over thirty, but please check with your insurance to see if you are covered for this important screening.
It is now possible to be inoculated by injection against the four major types of HPV that cause cervical cancer. The vaccination is available for girls and women 9 through 26 years of age. The vaccine can still be administered to people that already have HPV because it is possible for someone to contract more than one type of HPV. Being inoculated will protect you from the other strains of HPV. Your Her Healthcare provider will discuss your situation with you and advise you on whether or not the HPV vaccine is a good option for you.
1) The Center of Disease Control and Prevention.
Genital HPV infection fact sheet. Accessed by Merck and Co. on July 22, 2005.
2) Walboomers JMM, Jacobs MV, Manos MM, et al.
Human papillomavirus is a necessary cause of invasive cervical cancer worldwide.
J Pathol. 1999;189:12-19.
3) National Cancer Institute, Division of Cancer Prevention.
About HPV infections. Accessed by Merck and Co. on July 22, 2005.
4) Merck & Co. Patient Information about GARDASIL. June 2006.