Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a leading sexually transmitted infection in the United States. About 80% of sexually-active Americans will contract it at some point during their lifetime.
Most of the time, HPV disappears on its own without producing any side effects. But certain types of HPV — particularly types 16 and 18 — can cause cancer and other serious health issues.
The HPV vaccine protects you from contracting the virus, and it’s linked to significantly lower rates of cancer, genital warts, and other complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the HPV vaccine, but when is the right time to get it?
Our team at OB-GYN Associates of Marietta is here to help you stay healthy at every age. We offer HPV vaccination with Gardasil® for pre-teens, teens, and adults. Find out more about who should get the HPV vaccine, then book an appointment at our Marietta or Woodstock, Georgia, office today.
CDC guidelines for HPV vaccination
Vaccines work by exposing your body to a weakened or dead version of a disease. When your body encounters the vaccine, it's able to create antibodies to fight the disease before it ever comes in contact with the live version.
Vaccination is most effective when you get the shot before you’re exposed to the disease. Since HPV is spread primarily through sexual contact, the HPV vaccine is recommended for children 11 to 12 years old.
In general, the HPV vaccine is most effective when it’s administered to those younger than 15. Children who get the first shot before they turn 15 will need a second shot, which is often given 6-12 months after the first. Once the two shots are complete, your child will have a lower risk of certain cancers for the rest of their life.
Teens and adults
Teens 15 and older can still get the HPV vaccine. In these cases, people generally need three shots over a period of six months.
If you’re under the age of 27, you can also benefit from getting the vaccine. The CDC recommends that all men and women who are 26 years old and under get the HPV vaccine.
The latest version of Gardasil, Gardasil 9, is approved for adults up to the age of 45. However, the later in life that you get the vaccine, the less effective it’s likely to be. To find out if you’re a good candidate for the HPV vaccine, talk to our doctors.
The importance of getting the HPV vaccine
HPV is the most prevalent sexually transmitted infection in the United States. While it’s the primary cause of cervical cancer in women, men and women can contract HPV and develop health complications. That’s why vaccinating boys and girls is important.
Getting the HPV vaccine protects you or your child from numerous health issues, including:
- Cervical cancer
- Genital warts
- Oral cancer
- Vaginal cancer
- Vulvar cancer
- Anal cancer
The HPV vaccine is backed by more than a decade of research. It’s very safe, and it has been proven to reduce risk of cancer and other health complications. In fact, since the vaccination was introduced, cervical precancer in vaccinated women has dropped by 40%.
Side effects are rare, and are generally limited to mild pain around the injection site, dizziness, nausea, and headache. These side effects should disappear within a day or so of leaving the office.
Talk to our experts to learn more about getting the HPV vaccine. Whether your child is a pre-teen or you’ve never received the immunization yourself, we can help you determine the best course of treatment. Call us today in Marietta or Woodstock today, or request an appointment online.