Gardasil - the HPV Vaccine

Dear Patients,

A vaccine called Gardasil is now recommended for all girls and young women between the ages of 9 and 26 years old. Gardasil is designed to protect against several types of human papilloma virus (HPV). Infection with the human papilloma virus can cause genital warts and cervical cancer. HPV is the most common of all sexually transmitted viral infections. Protecting against the most aggressive types of HPV will greatly reduce the incidence of cervical cancer which currently accounts for almost 4,000 deaths per year in this country. If a woman is already sexually active, she may be infected with some types of HPV. However, a woman is unlikely to be infected with all four types of HPV included in the vaccine, thus the vaccine still offers protective benefits to sexually active women. The vaccine will not change the clinical course of warts or cervical lesions already present at the time of vaccination.

In clinical trials, the Gardasil vaccine was highly effective in preventing genital warts and pre-cancerous genital lesions. Five years after vaccination, protection against HPV was still strong with no signs of waning immunity.

The vaccine is given in three doses with the second and third doses two and six months after the initial dose. It may be safely given on the same day as other vaccines such as tetanus or meningitis vaccines. Reported side effects include only brief arm discomfort from the injection and rare cases of low grade fever. The vaccine should not be given to pregnant women, anyone with a serious acute illness or anyone with a severe yeast allergy. If a dose of Gardasil is given before a woman realizes she is preganant, she should delay the subsequent doses until after the pregnancy. No harmful effects to fetuses have been documented, however. In the future, the vaccine may also be available to protect boys and men from HPV.


Please call our office or ask your doctor at your next appointment if you have further questions about the Gardasil vaccine.

Thank you!
Dr. Judith Carpentier and Linda Fallon, NP

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