HPV Vaccine

HPV Vaccine

Vaccine approved to protect against cervical cancer

Courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This image is in the Public Domain.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

So when it says your not fully immuned untill you've had all three shots does that mean you can't have sex at all or is it just not recommended? Will it muck up the vaccines? Could you get it if you had sex while inbetween the three shots?

posted on Fri, 05/25/2007 - 9:24pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

It doesn't do anything to the vaccines. But you certainly could pick up the virus if you were exposed before you'd received all three vaccinations.

posted on Sat, 05/26/2007 - 8:33pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

can you get hpv or any other condition without having sex of any sort???

posted on Wed, 05/23/2007 - 2:57pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

please email me: so havin sex or any sexual contact is a bad idea after having the vaccine, even days after? i just got the hpv vaccine today at school, im 17 and was wondering if ANY sort of sexual contact was a bad idea. please let me know if u know of any adivse from a real doctor because ive looked everyhwere and cant find anything on the net about it.

posted on Thu, 05/17/2007 - 3:08am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

To become fully immune to all four strains of HPV that the shot protects against, you need to have three injections over 6 months.

You start producing antibodies immediately, but you cannot assume that you're immune until you've completed the series of shots. Also, while the shot protects against the four most dangerous strains of HPV, there are more than 100 strains out there.

And HPV is a highly transmissible virus. Proper condom use helps, but the virus can spread through other skin-to-skin contact.

So check out some of the links in this thread or the CDC's website. Read up on how to protect yourself. Remember that the shot doesn't protect against other STDs at all. And assume that you are NOT immune until you've received your third shot.

posted on Thu, 05/17/2007 - 2:05pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

sex is not bad

posted on Thu, 05/17/2007 - 11:09am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I just got the last vaccination today... one thing I'm not sure of -- I'm sort of older and have not been sexually active, but I have plans to be. So the question is, how long after the vaccination series do I have to wait to be protected? I assume it's not some kind of instant magic, so obviously it takes a little bit of time. Does anyone know how long? Thanks!

posted on Wed, 05/16/2007 - 2:39pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Does anyone read the posts anymore? :)

You start developing immunity after the first shot. But you will not achieve full immunity to all four strains of HPV that the shot protects against until after the third shot.

Data shows that antibody levels peak at month 7 following immunization. (The first shot is given on day 1, the second at month 2, and the third at month 6.) But those antibody levels are increasing from the first shot. And so far, the vaccine is only proven to maintain antibodies for 48 months. So there may be a recommendation for booster shots in the future.

Even after you've achieved full immunity, the HPV vaccine is not a magic bullet. It only protects against 4 strains of HPV (although they're the most dangerous 4); there are more than 100 strains. And, of course, it doesn't protect against any other sexually transmitted diseases..

So be careful.

posted on Thu, 05/17/2007 - 1:34pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Um... I got my first HPV shot 4 months after I had sex for the first time. Is that going to affect the effectiveness of the shot? Also, when can I start having sex again?

posted on Sun, 05/06/2007 - 5:55pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

myself and the girls at school are being vaccinated tomorow at school, and there has been a rumour that once youhave the first vaccination you cant have sex for either 6 weeks or 6 months ( we werent sure what was said ) is this true? most of the girls at my school are sexually active and boyfriends really want to know if we can still have regular sex after having the HPV vaccine..

posted on Wed, 05/02/2007 - 5:07am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

A friend of mine was wondering that if she is in the middle of getting the shots is she aloud to have sex or does she have to wait until all 3 shots have been given

posted on Mon, 04/23/2007 - 11:22pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

The paragraphs directly above your question contain the information you seek.

posted on Sun, 04/29/2007 - 9:56am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

im 15 and i have had the first hpv shot and this motivational speaker that is a nurse or something close to it said that if you are sexually active or you have had sex before and then you get the shot she said that the shot will not help you at all. and i need to know if i should stop going to get the shots because if it doesnt help me then there is no need to go back. and i got tested for StD's and it was negative. What should i do?

posted on Fri, 04/06/2007 - 11:40am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Here's the skinny:

Many people do not achieve FULL immunity against the four strains of HPV that Gardasil/Cervarix protect against until they've received all three shots.

Having sex will not negate the effect of the shot(s) you've already had. But you will still be at risk for contracting the virus. You could pick up one of the four strains before you're fully immune.

They don't routinely test for HPV; you should verify that you were, in fact, tested. And there's no way right now to test men for the virus, so you need to protect yourself. Read the CDC's fact sheet on HPV (you'll find links in the earlier posts), and talk to your doctor if you still have questions.

posted on Wed, 04/11/2007 - 1:43pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

my girlfriend is planning on getting the hpv shot but we always had sex before but her mom doesn't know is it better for her to get the shot even tho we had sex like3 times before

posted on Tue, 04/03/2007 - 8:19pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

what are the long term effects that have happend on people that had the HPV shot? I know that there are casses, my doctor told me so.

posted on Mon, 04/02/2007 - 4:43pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Art posted a link to the FDA site somewhere in the middle of this thread.

posted on Thu, 05/17/2007 - 1:22pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I want to get the HPV shot because I know that my boyfriend and I are about to get serious. I'm 20 and I have never had intercourse before...I want to know if after I get the first shot will I be able to have sex with out ruining the effects of the vaccine before finishing the full series....

posted on Fri, 03/16/2007 - 8:31pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

I think Liza answered this in here comment above, saying:

But MY understanding is that it takes three injections, given over six months, to achieve full immunity to the 4 strains of HPV the vaccines protect against. If you get exposed to the virus before you're immune, you could still get infected.

(It's not that having sex will somehow cancel out the effect of the vaccine and make it not "work." The body begins to produce antibodies against the virus after the first injection. But to have a full immune response, you need all three shots.)

posted on Mon, 03/19/2007 - 8:35am
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Time.com's post, "Saying Yes to the HPV Vaccine" made Digg. Lots of the usual comments can be found there if you like reading about HPV vaccinations.

posted on Sat, 03/10/2007 - 10:57am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I am just about to get my second shot for the vaccine, and I was wondering, do you have to wait until your third shot before having sex, or can you have sex before then?

posted on Wed, 03/07/2007 - 11:51pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

See the reply to the post directly above yours.

posted on Thu, 03/08/2007 - 11:18am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

My girlfriend just got the Cervarix vaccine , and she heard that she can't be sexualy active for 6 months inorder for the vaccine to work. Though she has never been sexualy active with me nor anybody else. Is this true?

posted on Wed, 03/07/2007 - 7:09pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

I actually didn't know that Cervarix was on the market yet. I thought it was still awaiting approval? Anyway...

I'm not a doctor. I can't give medical advice.

But MY understanding is that it takes three injections, given over six months, to achieve full immunity to the 4 strains of HPV the vaccines protect against. If you get exposed to the virus before you're immune, you could still get infected.

(It's not that having sex will somehow cancel out the effect of the vaccine and make it not "work." The body begins to produce antibodies against the virus after the first injection. But to have a full immune response, you need all three shots.)

Your girlfriend should talk to her doctor if she has questions.

posted on Thu, 03/08/2007 - 11:16am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I have been diagnosed with genital warts for about 4 months now. The warts went away with the treatment of aldara, but a couple more showed up about the same time the first went away...I take vitamins on the regular, use the aldara, and I am trying something new called Heal Warts...Is there anything else I can do to get rid of these disfigurements, or is this something that I am going to be dealing with for the rest of my life...I have been to the doctor, but he just prescribed the aldara. He also said that the human body usually rids itself of the warts and fights the hpv off in about a year. Is there anything I can do to speed up the process? and do most people keep having outbreaks? I need help...

posted on Sun, 03/04/2007 - 12:52pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I just turned 27 in November of 06, should I still receive the vaccine and can I go to my family doctor or do I have to go to my GYN.

posted on Thu, 03/01/2007 - 8:56am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I have had Genital warts. I just started dating someone and we have not had sex yet. She just turned 27 yrs old. At 27 can she still get the vaccine?

posted on Wed, 02/28/2007 - 5:43pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

She's outside the target demographic, but obviously at a very real, demonstrable risk of contracting HPV.

She should talk to her doctor about her options.

posted on Wed, 02/28/2007 - 6:02pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I am 24 years old and I just went to the doctor for my aunual check up. I am about to be married (neither me nor my fiance have been sexually active before) - we are waiting until we are married. I asked my doctor if i needed the vaccine and she said no since my fiance has not had a partner before me. Is this true? I still feel that I should get the vaccine but I don't know... Should I tell her I want the vaccine even though she said I didn't need it?

posted on Wed, 02/28/2007 - 1:59am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

If neither of you has had sex or skin-to-skin genital contact, and you're confident in each other's fidelity, then, no, you do not need the vaccine.

But if you WANT it, just to be on the safe side, you can certainly request it.

posted on Wed, 02/28/2007 - 11:06am
Annabel's picture
Annabel says:

I'm 15 years old and I have been sexual active with my boyfreind now for about a year. He nor I have ever had sex with anyone besides each other and we use a condom every time. Am I still at risk of getting the virus? And am I still eligible to get the vaccine?
And also, if you have never had sex, can you still get the virus?

posted on Sun, 02/25/2007 - 2:38pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

If neither of you has had sex or skin-to-skin genital contact with anyone else, you use a condom correctly every time, and you're confident of each other's fidelity, then you're not at risk for HPV.

However, a new study by the CDC shows that about one-third of US women 14-24 are infected, and about one-half of women 20-24 have the virus. The younger you are when you start having sex, and the more partners you have (even if you're a serial monogamist), the more likely you are to pick up HPV. (Remember, too: HPV isn't the only consequence of sexual activity you should be thinking about.)

Having had sex does not make you ineligible for the vaccine. In fact, since you know you're not exposed yet but you are sexually active and you're young, you are exactly who health care providers want to target with the vaccine. Talk to your doctor.

posted on Wed, 02/28/2007 - 6:09pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Merck is putting on hold its lobbying campaign to make Gardasil vaccination mandatory.

Merck's medical director for vaccines, Dr. Richard M. Haupt, told the Associated Press:

"We're concerned that our role in supporting school requirements is a distraction from that goal, and as such have suspended our lobbying efforts."

The article continues,

"Dr. Anne Francis, who chairs an American Academy of Pediatrics committee that advocates for better insurer reimbursement on vaccines, called Merck's change of heart 'a good move for the public.'

'I believe that their timing was a little bit premature,' she said, 'so soon after (Gardasil's) release, before we have a picture of whether there are going to be any untoward side effects.

Given that the country has been 'burned' by some drugs whose serious side effects emerged only after they were in wide use, including Merck's withdrawn painkiller Vioxx, Francis said, it would be better to wait awhile before mandating Gardasil usage."

(I should note, though, that the American Academy of Pediatrics supports broad use of the vaccine.)

The National Vaccine Information Center, a group of parents worried that vaccines harm some children, have been publicizing reports of side effects associated with Gardasil vaccination: dizziness and fainting in several dozen people.

While I, too, am uncomfortable with the amount of lobbying power big pharmaceutical companies have, and with reports of less-than-scrupulously-ethical clinical trials, I think that most of the fuss about Gardasil has to do with two factors: its price (completely unaffordable for a lot of people), and the fact that it protects GIRLS against a sexually transmitted disease.

If the vaccine was $150 cheaper and protected against a disease transmitted differently, I bet we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

posted on Tue, 02/20/2007 - 9:11pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

The CDC, in response to charges made by the National Vaccine Information Center, said Wednesday (2/21) that no additional warnings are needed for the Gardasil vaccine.

According to the Associated Press article,

"Many of the reports involved fainting, but teens tend to faint from vaccinations anyway, health experts said, and the number of cases doesn't exceed what was expected.

There also does not seem to be a worrisome association between the vaccine and Guillain-Barre syndrome, and there's no evidence that the vaccine isn't safe when given at the same time as other vaccines.

posted on Fri, 02/23/2007 - 2:58pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

The Minnesota legislature is debating whether or not vaccination with the HPV vaccine should be mandatory. Gardasil was also the topic of the first hour of today's Midmorning broadcast on MPR. (2/19/07) Guests included:

  • MN Rep. Karen Clark (DFL-Minneapolis), Chair of the Public Health Finance Committee and registered nurse;
  • MN Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul), member of the Health and Human Services Committee and registered nurse;
  • Former AP correspondent Arthur Allen, currently writing for Slate's "Medical Examiner" column and author of Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicine's Greatest Lifesaver.
posted on Mon, 02/19/2007 - 6:11pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

can u still have protected sex after having the vaccine

posted on Thu, 02/15/2007 - 10:23pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

If you are asking if the vaccine protects you and a partner from sexualy transmitted diseases, the answer is no.

posted on Fri, 02/16/2007 - 10:23am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Do you have to get the second and third shots exactly two and six months after the first shot because I have received the first shot and I am going to be out of the country on the day that would be exactly two months after the first shot? Also, would it be better to get the shot six days earlier or three days later than the day that would be two months after the first shot?

posted on Mon, 01/29/2007 - 3:03am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Usually vaccine timing is not so precise, and a couple of days either way is no big deal. But I don't know about Gardasil specifically, and Science Buzzers can't give you medical advice anyway. These are questions for your doctor, so give him or her a call. :)

posted on Mon, 01/29/2007 - 11:35am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I am a 26 year old female that was diagnosed with a strain of hpv that causes genital warts. I have heard that the Vaccine will help to suppress the genital warts. Is this true?

posted on Sat, 01/27/2007 - 3:50pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Well, even with a condom, you arent protected from HPV. So...It is one of those things that you can be careful, but...you can't really be careful enough, unless you arent sexually active. I say, go for the vaccine. Even if its only against four...I would say its better than not giving your girls anything.

Or would you rather just give them cancer now? Because, unless they plan on being nuns, they will have sex one day, and no matter how many STD tests their boyfriends or husbands had, they still could have the virus.

posted on Wed, 01/17/2007 - 5:08am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

no one should ever have sex without a condom it seems.. if u do u are just asking for HPV this is sickening

posted on Thu, 12/21/2006 - 5:33pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I agree.. how is it after all of this time that has passed we never kneww about HPV or anything like it really is ridiculous how many people will end up with this infection by the time they are in their 50s and if there is not test for men, women willnever know they have it why are we even hear procreating and what not when the likelihood of transmitting HPV to your partner is so high

posted on Fri, 12/22/2006 - 7:48am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

can i get the vaccine if i have HPV.. i think this is so ridiculous that this virus has never been detected and 75% of the US population will one day have it

posted on Thu, 12/21/2006 - 5:32pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I just got a letter back from my doctor yesterday, i had a pap smear about two weeks ago and it came back positive for HPV. My boyfriend now is the only person i have ever slept with without a condom. He was tested for STDs before we got together and came back negative. I do not understand how this could have happened. Now i have to go back to the doctor in six months for another test. Should i see if i could get the vaccine or because i came back positive will i not be eligible for it.

posted on Thu, 12/21/2006 - 7:56am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

My understanding is that the vaccine offers some limited protection against other strains of HPV if you're already infected with one. So you could still get it.

But you should discuss this with your doctor.

As for how this could have happened, there is no test for HPV available right now for men. So your boyfriend wasn't ever tested for that particular disease. Further, use of a condom isn't a 100% guarantee against picking up HPV, although it does dramatically cut your risk, and the virus can be silent in the body for years, so it's hard to know who picked it up first and when.

This is one reason why STD testing is not a green-light for sex without condoms, unfortunately. In your situation, you should ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS use a condom, and use it correctly. Your doctor can give you more information.

posted on Thu, 12/21/2006 - 1:48pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

no.. genital herpes does not have a cure what so ever.

posted on Sat, 12/16/2006 - 9:34pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

The poster you're responding to had a question about genital warts, not herpes. While both are sexually transmitted, they cause different symptoms and health problems.

You're right: there is no cure for genital herpes. There is no cure for HPV (which causes warts), either, but there are treatments. And now there is a vaccine against 4 strains of HPV...

posted on Mon, 12/18/2006 - 1:11pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

umm...because sometimes you just can't help who you fall forr

posted on Sat, 12/16/2006 - 6:09pm
sarah's picture
sarah says:

this is a little crazy dont you think!!!

posted on Sat, 12/16/2006 - 5:12pm