Why Vaccinate Against HPV?
This vaccine against cervical cancer is advised for young females. Most cervical cancer is the result of some strains of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Some of these strains, as well as other less lethal HPV strains, also cause genital warts.
Did you know that each year about 10,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer? We suffer about 4000 deaths from this cancer per year. Most HPV is benign and transient, and some can be asymptomatic. Usually, infections from HPV will resolve in 2 years. About 5 percent of the HPV infections go on to cause cervical dysplasia (pre-cancer). The progression is slow and can be detected by annual pap smears. The recommendation is routine annual Pap smears once the female becomes sexually active or reaches the age of 18, as well as an annual exam to screen for other STDs.
The CDC’s American Council on Immunization Practice (ACIP) recommends vaccinating all females ages 11-26 years before they become sexually active, as it is not effective against existing HPV infection. The vaccine is given in 3 doses over a period of 6 months, and the expected cost is $360. The vaccine is effective against viruses that cause 70 percent of the cancers. Most private insurance plans cover the cost of the vaccine series under the patients “wellness benefits.” Currently, the vaccine is also available and offered to patients with Medicaid, Amerigroup, Wellcare, or Peach State at no charge to the patient. There are two different vaccines that protect against HPV, Gardasil and Cervarix. Gardasil is for males and females ages 9-26. Cervarix is for females ages 9-25.
CDC Recommends HPV Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers the vaccine for HPV highly effective in preventing infections that are the cause of most cervical cancers. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to recommend that the vaccine designed to protect against HPV be routinely given to girls when they are 11-12 years old. The ACIP recommendation also allows for vaccination of girls beginning at nine years old as well as vaccination of girls and women 13-26 years old. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer in women.
- Learn more about HPV from the CDC
- HPV Vaccination Information
- HPV Vaccine Information Statement (Gardasil)
- HPV Vaccine Information Statement (Cervarix)
HPV Vaccine For Boys
The HPV vaccine isn’t just for girls. The CDC recommends routine vaccination with the Gardasil vaccine for boys ages 11-12, too. In boys, Gardasil helps protect against approximately 90% of genital warts cases.