Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a sexually transmitted disease. It is the most common STD in the US, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It is also estimated by the CDC that about 50% of sexually active people will have genital HPV at some time in their lives. Some types of HPV cause cervical cancer.
You can be vaccinated against HPV. The first vaccine for HPV, Gardasil, was approved by the FDA in 2006. Gardasil protects against four types of HPV and was recently approved by the FDA to treat anal cancer. Cervarix is another vaccine that protects against two types of HPV.
HPV vaccines usually come in three recommended injections. Vaccines are intended for girls and boys, age 9 to 26.
Lately, the controversy lies in weather or not the HPV vaccines should be mandated by the federal government. A handful of states, including Virginia and D.C., currently have mandates to vaccinate children if they are attending public schools.
Whether you choose to vaccinate or not, HPV vaccines do not eliminate the need for women to have regular cervical cancer screenings. But regular screenings won’t prevent HPV. A study for Gardasil determined that 28% of women in the group that were diagnosed with cervical cancer had a clear Pap exam in as little as 6 months prior to diagnosis.
For more information on HPV and vaccines for HPV visit Timpanogos Regional Hospital.