STD Facts: HPV Vaccine For Young Women

STD Facts: HPV Vaccine For Young Women

The HPV vaccine has been made available for the general public. As recommended by the CDC, everyone aged 11 and 12 (aged 9 in some cases) through the age of 26 should get vaccinated if they have not been vaccinated already. The HPV vaccine for women prevents strains of Human papillomavirus (HPV) that are responsible for cervical cancer in women and anal cancer, vulval cancer, vaginal cancer and oropharyngeal cancer in both men and women. The vaccine also protects against the strain of HPV that is also responsible for genital warts.

Why is it important to get the HPV vaccine?

HPV is a viral Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STD) passed from one person to another through unprotected sexual activity. Unfortunately, manysexually active people will be exposed to this virus at some point in their lives. It has been estimated that the HPV infection is most common in young people in their late teens and early 20s.

There are about 40 different strains of HPV that can affect a sexually active individual. Some of these strains do not need treatment when a person is infected as they can go away on their own. Still, some other strains of the HPV are responsible for cervical cancer in women and other types of cancer like oral cancer, vaginal cancer, anal cancer, penile cancer and vulval cancer. These strains are equally responsible for forming warts in the genital region of both man and woman. Although genital warts are not life-threatening, their treatment can be uncomfortable.

Getting the vaccine will protect you from the virus and ultimately from cancer and genital warts. Reports have shown that 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, and 4,000 out of them diefrom this disease. You can prevent this by visiting a clinic that provides private HPV vaccine for women.

Which groups of women or girls should get the vaccine?

The HPV vaccine is usually recommended for girls between the ages of 11 and 12; however, those aged 13 – 26 can also get the vaccine if they have not been vaccinated already, or if they have not completed the vaccine series. In families with a history of cervical cancer, the vaccine can be given to a child as young as 9 years old. According to the CDC, children aged 11 and 12 should get two doses of the HPV vaccine to protect them from HPV and its cancer.

Can the vaccine benefit sexually active females?

The vaccine was originally meant to be taken before an individual becomes sexually active; however, even a sexually active female can benefit from the vaccine, although not as much as a child would. The HPV vaccine targets specific strains of HPV, and a sexually active female may have already been exposed to such strains. Nonetheless, very few sexually active females have been infected with all strains of the HPV virus, so basically, they can still benefit from the vaccine.

Can a pregnant woman be vaccinated?

While the vaccine was not intended for pregnant women, getting it will have no adverse effects on the baby. However, it would be best if you put off getting vaccinated with the HPV vaccine until your pregnancy has been completed. If by chance, a pregnant woman gets one or two shots of the vaccine, she should do the following:

  • Call the pregnancy registry and her gynaecologist
  • Wait until her pregnancy is complete before finishing the doses of the vaccine.

Should females get screened for cervical cancer before getting the vaccine?

You don’t need a pap test, HPV test or a co-testing to find out if you need the HPV vaccine. You can get the vaccine with, or without screening. However, you must continue screening for cervical cancer even after receiving the vaccine. You should also know that the vaccine does not protect you from all kinds of cancer.

Is the HPV vaccine really effective?

The HPV vaccine is very effective against the strains of HPV responsible for cervical cancer and other cancer types, including anal, vaginal, oral and vulva. The vaccine is also very effective in protecting against the strain of HPV that causes genital warts.

The vaccine does not treat existing HPV infections, meaning that if you have already been exposed to some strains of the virus, you will not be fully protected anymore. The vaccine is intended to be taken before you become sexually active, thereby protecting you before you are exposed to it.

How long does the vaccination last?

Report has shown that the vaccines protect you for life. Scientists have conducted follow-up research on individuals who received the vaccination 10 years ago, and the results show that there is no sign of weakened protection.

Is there anything the vaccine does not protect you from?

The HPV vaccine does not protect against other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). This means that a sexually active person will have to practice safe sex to avoid being infected with other types of STD. Also, the HPV vaccine does not protect against all strains of HPV. This equally means that you might not be protected from all other types of cancer. You should always continue with your screening so you will be able to detect any type of cancer early on.

How safe is the HPV vaccine?

Before the release of the vaccine, it was studied by thousands of people who made sure it was safe for everyone. The HPV vaccine has been approved by the CDC as safe and very effective, and has also been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Even after its approval, its safety levels are still being monitored by the FDA and CDC.

There are few, mild side effects that have been reported with the vaccine; however, they disappear quickly and do not return. The side effects include pain at the injection point, Nausea, headache, fever, dizziness, and fainting. Fainting is more common in adolescents, so it is advised that the individual sits or lies down after the HPV vaccination for about 15 minutes to avoid injuries resulting from falling.

Why is the vaccine not recommended for females over that age of 26?

Recently, the HPV vaccine is not recommended for women over that age of 26. This is because the vaccine only offers limited protection against HPV related diseases. So for women over the age of 26, the most appropriate way to prevent cervical cancer would be regular screening.

Can boys and men be vaccinated too?

Yes, the vaccine has been licensed for use for boys and men. The boys can get vaccinated as early as 9 years of age, although the recommended age is 11 or 12 years. For people who have not been vaccinated at such age, the vaccine still remains effective for boys and men aged 13 – 21. Although the vaccine is more effective when taken at a younger age, adults aged 22 – 26 can also get vaccinated. For 11 and 12 years old boys, the CDC recommends getting two doses of the HPV vaccine to protect them from HPV and HPV-related diseases.

Does insurance plans cover the vaccine?

Health insurance plans can cover the cost of the HPV vaccine. However, those who do not have insurance can get help from the Vaccines for Children(VCF).

How do I get help to pay for the vaccine?

Families of children eligible for vaccines but have no access to it can get help from the Vaccines For Children (VCF). This program makes vaccines available at no cost to doctors who treat eligible children. Furthermore, children below the age of 19 are eligible for VCF vaccine if they are underinsured, or have no health insurance. Underinsured children whose vaccines are not covered by their health insurance can get VCF vaccines from Federally qualified health centresor local health centres.

Additionally, parents whose children are underinsured or do not have medical insurance but receive VCF vaccines at no cost should check with their Healthcare providers about possible administration fees that may apply. These fees help cover the cost of some of the services like paying staff workers that give vaccines and the storing of the vaccines.

Will females still need cervical cancer screening even after vaccination?

Yes, they should still go for regular screening against cervical cancer. This is because the HPV protects you frommost of the HPV strain, but not from all the strain responsible for cervical cancer. Additionally, suppose you got vaccinated after you became sexually active. In that case, you should still go for regular screening because you may have already been exposed to some of the strains before you got vaccinated.

Are there other ways to prevent cervical cancer?

Most cases of cervical cancer can be prevented through regular pap tests and HPV tests. The Pap test or Pap smear test aims to detect abnormal cell changes in the cervix before they develop into cancer cells, while HPV tests check for the virus responsible for these cell changes. Although regular screening can detect most cervical cancer cases at a stage when it can be treated, it cannot detect all. Finally, women diagnosed with cervical cancer have either never been screened or have not been screened in 5 years.

Are there ways to prevent HPV?

HPV is an STD, which means it is transferred during sexual intercourse. One way to reduce the chances of getting HPV and its related diseases like cervical cancer and genital warts for sexually active people is condoms during sex from start to finish. Note that areas not covered by the condom can still cause infection, so this is not exactly 100% guaranteed protection.

Additionally, you can also reduce your chances of getting HPV by sticking to one sexual partner and ensuring that your partner has no other sexual partner. But then again, it might be difficult to tell if someone has more than one sexual partner or if they have HPV. So the best way to prevent HPV would be to avoid any sexual activity altogether.

Do you wish to get an HPV vaccine or find out more information about the HPV vaccine and disease? If you do, get in contact with us at Gynae-clinic London today. Visit us at for more information about this and related health care issues.

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