WHAT IS HPV?
HPV (human papillomavirus) is currently the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States. Oftentimes, HPV infection does not cause any visible signs or symptoms and the virus is spread simply through intimate skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. Asymptomatic women and men can carry the virus unknowingly and spread it to their partners. You do not need to have sexual intercourse or exchange of bodily fluids to become infected with HPV--the virus can be spread even when condoms are used consistently.
WHAT IS THE HPV VACCINE?
Gardasil, also known as the HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine, is a vaccination consisting of three injections given over a period of six months. The Gardasil vaccine protects against the four most common strains of HPV though over 130 different strains have been identified. Protection from these four strains of HPV occurs one month after the third dose is administered.
The vaccine provides protection against four of the most common strains of HPV:
- HPV types 16 & 18 which have been linked to over 70% of cervical cancers
- HPV types 6 & 11 which have been linked to over 90% of cases of genital warts
WHO CAN RECEIVE THE HPV VACCINE?
Gardasil is available to both men and women under the age of 27 at Student Health Services in the Immunizations Department. Even if you have previously been diagnosed with HPV you may still receive the vaccine; however, the vaccine will not protect you from whichever type you have already been exposed to.
You should not receive the Gardasil vaccine if you are or could be pregnant, are moderately or severely ill at the time of vaccination, have had a bad reaction to a previous Gardasil vaccine or if you are allergic to yeast or any other component of the vaccine.
For more information on the vaccine please visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines or speak with your health care provider.
If you are interested in receiving Gardasil, please schedule an appointment with the Immunizations department online or by calling 215-746-3535.