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Dr. Carrie Jones: The HPV Vaccine - What Do You Need To Know?

By Expert HERWriter
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By now, most everyone has seen the commercials on television about the most common HPV vaccine called Gardasil. HPV stands for the Human Papillomavirus and is responsible for both genital warts and abnormal changes on your pap test including cervical cancer.

Even though there are hundreds of different strains, HPV-16 and HPV-18 account for 70% of cervical cancer while HPV-6 and HPV-11 cause 90% of genital warts. Therefore, these four strains are the basis for Gardasil’s protection.

The vaccine is not a live-virus but a “virus-like” particle that will still stimulate a woman’s immunity against these four strains of HPV. The company, Merk, reports girls between 9 and 26 years old can receive it. Lately, there are reports that women up to 45 years old are also seeing benefits.

The vaccine does not protect everyone – especially if you already have these most common strains of HPV or if you have a different, less common strain. Also, it is not meant as a treatment should you acquire genital warts or an abnormal pap. Currently, the vaccine is not recommended for pregnant women and is still being studied on men. Additionally, those who have yeast sensitivities should not receive Gardasil as it is a component of the vaccine.

The company states that girls, ideally between the ages of 11 and 12, who are not yet sexually active should start the first of the three rounds of vaccinations. The schedule of injection should occur over the next 6 months and costs about $125 per dose. A woman can still receive the vaccination up to 26 years old even if she is sexually active and has one of the common HPV strains because she could develop protection against the other three.

Once a woman has been vaccinated, it is not yet known how long the effects will last or if she will need a booster shot. Also, it is not a replacement for her yearly pap test.

The most common side effects at the site of injection are pain, swelling, and redness. Systemically, women frequently experience fever, nausea, itching, dizziness, vomiting, headache and fainting.

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

One good friend of mine was paralyzed from it for nearly a year- she was told she would never run again, but thankfully after a year and a half of diligent physical therapy and an amazing amount of determination, she's back on her feet.
My best friend, however, wasn't so lucky- the vaccination caused her to have severe ovarian cysts, and now she can no longer bear children. Both girls are under the age of 21.

They're pushing a vaccine that has not been tested nearly enough too far and too fast- this HPV scare is out of control.

August 22, 2009 - 2:25am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I was just reading that in Australia one girl got Premature ovarian failure, but apparantly although Merck provided the TGA with reports of tests on rat testes etc it didnt provide the test results on rat overies. Which is unusual, if the drug you are promoting is primarily pushed at girls and to do with preventing cervical cancer. Some are wondering how many girls out there are on the pill which is masking systems of ovary problems and early menopause. If anyone has an adverse reaction I'd make sure your tests included your ovaries!

March 7, 2013 - 12:26am
EmpowHER Guest

There are also a lot of women, however, who have had issues with guardasil. A few girls have even been paralyzed by it.

I understand that when a new vaccine comes out people want the public to know about it -- but it seems really suspicious the way everyone is really pushing this drug. When I went to the doctor to get shots for living on-campus at college, my doctor nearly had a fit because I told her I did not want the shot. She almost refused to see me.

What is Guardasil hiding that they can't report more of the cases where it doesn't work?

June 23, 2009 - 11:21am
EmpowHER Guest

I work at the Medicine Shoppe and our pharmacists recommended that girls between 11 and 12 years of age receive the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. It’s given as a series of three shots over the course of six months. Also, it’s highly recommended for girls between 13 and 18 years old if they have not yet been vaccinated. The good news is that older adult women are also seeing benefits from the vaccine. For more information about Gardasil ask your local pharmacist.

June 18, 2009 - 9:53am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

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