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:

even if there is...i don't know...why risk it?

posted on Sat, 12/16/2006 - 5:03pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I am a 55 year old woman. I am dating a guy that has genital warts. I have not been intimate with him yet. He tells me there is a vacine that will protect me from getting gentail warts. Is that true? If so what is the vacine? Is it available in the US?

posted on Fri, 12/15/2006 - 8:01pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

The Gardasil vaccine, which is available in the US, protects against 4 kinds of human papilloma virus, including the strains that cause 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts.

Note that it does not protect against EVERY strain of HPV, or even every strain that causes genital warts, so you would want to use condoms as well, and you might look into the particular strain your guy is infected with.

However, the big issue for you is that the Gardasil vaccine is licensed for use in girls/women between the ages of 9 and 26. According to the CDC,

"The vaccine has been widely tested in 9-to-26-year-old girls/women. But research on the vaccine's safety and efficacy has only recently begun with women older than 26 years of age. The FDA will consider licensing the vaccine for those women when there is research to show that it is safe and effective for them."

You might be able to find a doctor who's willing to give you the vaccine anyway, off-label, but I kind of doubt it. Since it's pretty new, it can be hard to find. And it's expensive. So doctors that have it are really trying to target girls before they become sexually active.

posted on Mon, 12/18/2006 - 1:07pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

my mom is making me get the hpv vaccine but she doesn't know i've had sex before..only once...can i still get the hpv vaccine?

posted on Wed, 12/13/2006 - 3:08pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Yup, you can still get the shot. And the sooner the better!

Doctors want to administer the vaccine before you're sexually active because even a single encounter can transmit the virus. But it's not like the shot will only protect virgins. :) So use condoms to minimize your chances of picking up ANY sexually transmitted diseases, including HPV, and get that shot.

(Remember: the HPV vaccine protects against 4 strains--the most dangerous ones--but there are more than 100. So make sure you protect yourself in other ways, too.)

posted on Wed, 12/13/2006 - 4:12pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

International health experts are calling for the immediate availability, and immediate price reductions, of the HPV vaccines (Gardasil, and Cervarix, which will be available in the US next year) for use in the developing world.

80% of cervical cancer deaths occur in the developing world, where more than 95% of women never have a cervical smear test (like a Pap). Cervical cancer is now the second most common female cancer, and the death rate is increasing. The vaccines could save 250,000 lives each year.

However, cultural taboos are likely to hinder vaccination of girls between 9 and 13 years old--the ideal target group. And the price--even if drug manufacturers can reduce the cost from $375 to about $10--is going to be a problem...

posted on Tue, 12/12/2006 - 2:01pm
Crystal's picture
Crystal says:

I was diagnosed 4 1/2 years ago at age 38 with Breast Cancer. I was blessed to be chosen for a clinical study in which I received the now approved chemotherapy drug Herceptin for one year following standard chemo and radiation.

I have a 13 year old daughter whom I am considering for the HPV vaccination due to my history. I want to do whatever it takes to protect my daughter from going thru what I (we, as a family) went thru with the enemy.

My question to you is, have there been any reports of side effects of the vaccine? Not only with the shots themselves but for a period of time after? Any bad long term side effects?

Thank You for you time.


posted on Mon, 12/04/2006 - 5:20pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

I went to the Gardasil web site and downloaded the PDF file intended as prescribing information for doctors. On pages 10 - 12 I found listed possible side effects. Statistics dictate that in any population of thousands, people do die (auto accidents and suicides as an examples). The side effects that were statistically significant were pain, swelling, and erythema. There was a four year follow up. Since this vacciine is new, I do not think data exists on long term effects, although ongoing data is being collected.

The FDA has a consumer-inquiry phone number (888-INFO-FDA).

The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) information toll-free phone number is 1-800-822-7967.

posted on Wed, 12/06/2006 - 9:47am
pupkin's picture
pupkin says:

Regarding side-effects of this vaccine. My two grand daughters have had the first shot in a series. They are 22 and 19 respectively. Not sexually active. My question is what is the basis for this vaccine? Does it have any male hormone in its composition? I'm not sure they should be taking something that has the potential to make Merck so much money and has not been tested for very long.

posted on Sat, 01/31/2009 - 7:05am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

I want to know how the vaccine is made and what is in the vaccine. Is it a conjugate vaccine and if so what protien marker is it attached to?

Also was the vaccine was tested in indigenous people in Africa or Asia? Was the vaccine was tested in populations where HPV is prevelent?
All good questions to determine the real efficacy of the vaccine and its relationship to other dieases.

posted on Mon, 11/13/2006 - 2:39pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

According to this FDA site about Gardasil

Recombinant vaccines are made by genetic engineering, the process and method of manipulating the genetic material of an organism. In this case, the genes that code for a specific protein from each of the four virus types of HPV are expressed in yeast to create large quantities of the protein. The protein that is produced is purified and then used to make the vaccine. Because the vaccine only contains a protein, and not the entire virus, the vaccine cannot cause the HPV infection. It is the body's immune response to the recombinant protein(s) that then protects against infection by the naturally occurring virus.

Also, from the FDA product information page

Each 0.5-mL dose contains approximately 20 mcg of HPV 6 L1 protein, 40 mcg of HPV 11 L1 protein, 40 mcg of HPV 16 L1 protein, and 20 mcg of HPV 18 L1 protein.
Each 0.5-mL dose of the vaccine contains approximately 225 mcg of aluminum (as amorphous aluminum hydroxyphosphate sulfate adjuvant), 9.56 mg of sodium chloride,0.78 mg of L-histidine, 50 mcg of polysorbate 80, 35 mcg of sodium borate, and water for injection . The product does not contain a preservative or antibiotics.

"Four studies, one in the United States and three multinational, were conducted in 21,000 women to show how well Gardasil worked in women between the ages of 16 and 26 by giving them either the vaccine or placebo.... Two studies were also performed to measure the immune response to the vaccine among younger females aged 9-15 years. Their immune response was as good as that found in 16-26 year olds, indicating that the vaccine should have similar effectiveness when used in the 9-15 year age group." FDA news release

The lifetime risk of contracting a genital HPV infection is about 80 percent in women. This statement leads me to believe that HPV is prevalent in most populations.

The FDA has a consumer-inquiry phone number (888-INFO-FDA).

posted on Tue, 12/05/2006 - 4:44pm
Rita's picture
Rita says:

I am 36 years old,

i am infected with hpv and diagnose with CIN-I stage..my question can i get myself vaccinate now will it help? .and is it available in india-mumbai? or in Dubai-uae..and if it is available,which hospital will i get it from..can u give the name of hospital..


posted on Tue, 09/19/2006 - 11:22am
Survivor's picture
Survivor says:

I am only 33 years old, and have had a total hysterectomy due to cancer caused by HPV. My reason for posting is twofold. Parents .. vaccinate your children early. They need to be protected BEFORE they become sexually active. You would vaccinate them against HIV if you could. Also, I have a question... Do I need to be vaccinated if I've had a hysterectomy?

posted on Thu, 09/07/2006 - 9:18pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Wow. Thanks for sharing your story.

The HPV vaccine protects against 4 strains of the Human Papillomavirus: the two that cause the most cervical cancers and the two that cause the most genital warts. But there are about 100 HPV strains, so the vaccine won't prevent every cervical cancer or HPV infection.

And if you already have HPV, the vaccine can protect you against the other three strains, but it can't do anything about your existing infection.

I'm not a doctor, and you should seek advice from your physician, but I'll try to answer your question. The vaccine is only recommended for women between the ages of 9 and 26. Given that you're 33, I'm not sure that you'd be eligible for the vaccine. But if you were within the age range, then I'd say, yes, you should be vaccinated in spite of the hysterectomy. HPV infection can cause other cancers and, of course, genital warts. So, depending on which strain or strains you're infected with, I would think that the vaccine would still be protective.

Here are some statistics from the CDC:

"Approximately 20 million people are currently infected with HPV. At least 50% of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives. By age 50, at least 80% of women will have acquired genital HPV infection. About 6.2 million Americans get a new genital HPV infection each year."

Most people who get HPV will have no symptoms and will clear the infection on their own.

But most people who have a genital HPV infection don't know that they're infected. So they can easily transmit the virus to their sex partners.

And right now, there is no HPV test available for men. And the vaccine is in clinical trials for men and boys, but not currently commercially available for them.

So what does that mean? Well, first, if you're a woman between the ages of 9 and 26, get the vaccine. You'll be protecting yourself and any partners you might have. But, beyond that,

"The surest way to eliminate risk for genital HPV infection is to refrain from any genital contact with another individual.

For those who choose to be sexually active, a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner is the strategy most likely to prevent future genital HPV infections. However, it is difficult to determine whether a partner who has been sexually active in the past is currently infected.

For those choosing to be sexually active and who are not in long-term mutually monogamous relationships, reducing the number of sexual partners and choosing a partner less likely to be infected may reduce the risk of genital HPV infection. Partners less likely to be infected include those who have had no or few prior sex partners.

HPV infection can occur in both male and female genital areas that are covered or protected by a latex condom, as well as in areas that are not covered. While the effect of condoms in preventing HPV infection is unknown, condom use has been associated with a lower rate of cervical cancer, an HPV-associated disease."

(from the CDC)

posted on Fri, 09/08/2006 - 11:52am
Diana's picture
Diana says:

At what age do you recommend teens to start getting the vacine? And how often does it need to be updated?

posted on Thu, 09/07/2006 - 2:04pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Merck, the vaccine's manufacturer, recommends that women between the ages of 9 and 26 receive the vaccine before becoming sexually active.

You don't need boosters, exactly, but to get the full benefits of the vaccine, you need three shots. Get the first one, then a second one two months after the first, and a third one four months after that. (So the full series of three shots takes six months.)

posted on Thu, 09/07/2006 - 2:19pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Can you get the H P V vaccine after having sex??????? I've looked for hours on the computer, but I cant find anything!!!??

posted on Thu, 01/29/2009 - 10:44pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

Yes, but the vaccine is about prevention (before contact). It does not make HPV go away (after contact).

posted on Fri, 01/30/2009 - 12:15pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Isn't it H 'P' V?

posted on Tue, 08/22/2006 - 11:19pm
Liza's picture
Liza says:

Sure is. It stands for Human Papillomavirus. Someone made a typo when uploading the photo, and I've corrected it. Thanks for pointing out the mistake.

Here are the CDC fact sheet and the NIH fact sheet about the disease.

posted on Wed, 08/23/2006 - 9:40am
Liza's picture
Liza says:

The vaccine has been approved by the FDA, and Merck (the manufacturer) is running ads. If your doctor can't get it yet, he/she should be able to soon. Call your medical provider.

posted on Sat, 07/08/2006 - 9:14am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Hi, I am at a girl school in Britain - I am in year eight now and we got sent letters home about the HPV vaccine.
My mum was totally going to sign it but now i am not so sure about this.
A girl at my school came into day saying that in Endinburgh, 6 healthy girls got injected and died straight after. I highly doubted this but my whole class believed her and they all made it into such a kerfuffle that now i am doubting my first thoughts.
when i came home - my mum told me that they had just worked themselves up into such a stress (about having an injection) that they fainted and they didn't die.
i have been surfing the net all day but can't seem to find any evidence of any of that happening.
if you find anything please reply with the web adress :)
thanks x

posted on Wed, 10/01/2008 - 10:47am
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

I did not spend all day looking, but I went through the top 200 or so items when I did a search for "Endinburgh + vaccination + HPV". Nothing found except this. When someone tells you something you find to be unlikely, ask them where you can look to verify their statement.

posted on Thu, 10/02/2008 - 10:00am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

can i get it any where? and, i get it now??

posted on Fri, 07/07/2006 - 8:37pm