Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that can cause several types of cancer and genital warts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone between the ages of 11-12 get the HPV vaccine, but now they’ve also expanded their recommendation to include adults ages 21-46. This blog post will discuss why getting the vaccine is important for this age group.
The HPV Vaccine: What You Need to Know
The HPV vaccine prevents infection from most of the strains of HPV, which are responsible for most cases of cervical cancer, penile cancer, anal cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, and genital warts in both men and women. It is injected into your arm muscle over a series of shots depending on your age when you receive it. The CDC recommends two doses for people aged 15-45 who have not received all three doses before their 15th birthday.
Those aged 21 to 45 who have not been vaccinated before or completed the series should get the three-dose series of either Gardasil 9 or Cervarix vaccines at 0, 1-2 months, and six months apart. People aged 26-45 who have previously received one or two doses may be able to complete their vaccination with three doses at 0, 1-2 months, and six months apart; consult with your healthcare provider about this option.
It’s important to note that no long-term side effects are associated with receiving the vaccine; however, common short-term effects may include redness or pain at the injection site and fever or headache after receiving it. Additionally, suppose you become infected with an HPV strain covered by the vaccine. In that case, you may still need surgery to remove abnormal cells to prevent them from becoming precancerous lesions or cancerous tumors.
Vaccination against HPV is critical in preventing certain types of cancers in both women and men throughout their lives. If you are between 21-46 years old and haven’t received all three doses yet, it’s important to speak with your primary care physician about completing your vaccination series so that you can help protect yourself from these potentially life-threatening diseases. With advances in medical technology continuing to make great strides, it is worth considering vaccinating against HPV, even if you are over 26. Doing so could save your life someday.
Visit the CDC website for more information: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/hpv/hcp/administration.html