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When Is an HPV Vaccine Recommended?
An HPV vaccine is available for preventing the human papillomavirus types from giving you or your child different types of cancers. These cancers can include cervical cancer and cancers of the anus, vulva, vagina and oropharynx (back of the throat). This vaccine will also prevent HPV types that can cause you to have genital warts.
FAQs about the HPV vaccine and when doctors recommend it
Most people will develop HPV at some point, though they will never know they had an infection. Most people do not develop any symptoms from the HPV types and the infection will resolve itself. However, some types can cause cancer. Doctors recommend that anyone who will become sexually active get this vaccine.
When should someone get an HPV vaccination?
The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls and boys who are 11 and 12. If a child has not received this vaccination by this age, it is also available for people through the ages of 13 and 26. The CDC recommends that young preteens get two doses of the vaccine to protect against various cancers.
Will sexually active people benefit from the vaccination?
An OB-GYN will recommend that females get the vaccine before becoming sexually active. Females who are already having sex can still benefit from the vaccination, though the benefits may be less. After having sexual intercourse, a person may have been exposed to a type of HPV already. Few sexually active young people have all types of HPV, so the vaccine can still offer some protection.
Should a cervical cancer screening happen before the HPV vaccination?
It is unnecessary for girls and women to get an HPV test or Pap to see if the vaccine is necessary. Doctors recommend that women go through regular cervical cancer screenings. This is even after receiving the shots of the HPV vaccine.
How effective is the vaccination?
The HPV vaccine will target HPV types that generally cause cervical cancer or other cancers. It will also protect against most HPV types that can cause genital warts. It is highly effective in preventing these types of HPV and the health problems caused by them.
How long does protection from the HPV last?
There is research that suggests the vaccine can last a long time. Studies have followed individuals who have received the vaccine for 10 years. These studies show no evidence of weakened protection.
Why is the vaccine only recommended for people 26 and younger?
Doctors do not currently recommend the HPV vaccine for those who are over 26 years old. In clinical trials, HPV offered very limited protection against HPV-related problems. If a patient is older than 26, they should get regularly screened for cervical cancer.
Talk to a doctor about vaccinating preteens and teenagers
At some point, preteens and teenagers will grow up and most will become sexually active. Doctors recommend vaccinating these young men and women before this occurs. The HPV vaccine has shown only mild side effects, such as fevers and nausea. These side effects are typically short-lived. If you are unsure whether you or your child will need the HPV vaccine, talk to an OB-GYN about the benefits.
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