HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the USA. There are around 100 types of HPV. Four of them are known to cause cervical cancer, vaginal lesions, and genital warts. The vaccine ( Gardasil), can prevent these problems. It is important to note that the vaccine will NOT TREAT these problems.
The vaccine is also not a substitute for routine cervical cancer screening. It is most effective when given before becoming sexually active. However, if a girl is infected with one type of HPV, the vaccine will protect her against the other three types.
The vaccine is recommended for girls ages 9 – 26 years old.
It is given by injection, as a three-dose series.
Dose # 1: Now
Dose # 2: 2 months after Dose 1
Dose # 3: 6 months after Dose 1
The vaccine is well tolerated. The most common side effects are pain, redness and swelling at the injection site. There can also be mild fever, nausea or dizziness.