Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
What it is: Genital human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. More than half of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some time in their lives. Most HPV infections do not cause any symptoms, and go away on their own.
How it spreads: HPV is transmitted by direct contact, usually sexual, with an infected person. HPV transmission can be reduced, but not eliminated with the use of physical barriers, such as condoms.
What it causes: HPV can cause cervical cancer in women. Cervical cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths among women in the world. HPV is also associated with several less common cancers, such as vaginal and vulvar cancers in women and anal and oral cancer in both men and women. It can also cause genital warts and warts in the throat.
What to do: Gardasil 9 is Merck's newest version of HPV vaccine and covers 9 strains of HPV. Gardasil 9 or HPV 9 is for both males and females.
Vaccine protection from Gardasil is recommended for all females and males at 11-12 years of age, with the vaccine given as a series of two or three doses.* The vaccination series can be started beginning at age nine years at the medical providers discretion. All females 11-26 years of age are recommended to start or complete a series of two or three doses of vaccine.*
Vaccine protection for males with the Gardasil two or three dose series* may be given beginning at age 9 through 26 years of age.
*Two dose or Three dose series is dependant on the age at which the vaccine is started and the the time between dose 1 and dose 2; check with your provider for more details.
Ideally, vaccine should be administered before potential exposure to HPV through sexual contact.
Reviewed 5-13-21/ jaw