Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

The disease

HPV, Genital human papilloma virus, is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. There are about 40 types of HPV. About 20 million people in the U.S are infected with another 6.2 million who will get infected each year.

Most HPV infections don’t cause any symptoms and go away on their own. But HPV can cause cervical cancer in women. Cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women around the world. HPV can cause several less common types of cancer in both men and women. It can also cause genital warts and warts in the upper respiratory tract. There is no treatment for HPV infection, but the conditions it causes can be treated.

The vaccine

HPV vaccine is an inactivated (killed) vaccine that is given to protect against 2 major types of the virus. The vaccine you are getting is one of the two HPV vaccines that can be given to prevent cervical cancer. It is given to females only.

Women will still need cervical cancer screening because the vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV. The vaccine is routinely recommended for girls 11 – 12 years old. It may be given as young as age 9. It is given as a 3 dose series:

1st Dose: today
2nd Dose: 1-2 months after Dose 1
3rd Dose: 6 months after Dose 1

The vaccine is also recommended for girls and women 13-26 years old who did not receive it when they were younger.

Side effects

Some mild side effects can include redness, swelling and pain at the injection site, mild fever, itching at the injection site and moderate fever. These symptoms should not last long and should go away on their own.

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