Cervical Cancer Vaccine Now Available at Local Health Departments!
What is HPV?
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a virus that is passed by direct, skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal, or (rarely) oral sex with someone who has this infection. Often, persons who are infected with the virus have no symptoms. Even without symptoms, the virus can be passed from one person to another. About twenty million people in the United Sates are infected with HPV. There are more than 100 types of HPV. Some types of HPV cause genital warts, and some types cause cervical cancer.
What is the HPV vaccine?
Gardasil is a vaccine that will protect against the diseases caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18. HPV types 16 and 18 cause seventy percent of all cervical cancers, and HPV types 6 and 11 cause ninety percent of genital warts. It's best for the vaccine to be administered before the onset of sexual activity, but young women who are sexually active should still be vaccinated. Three visits are needed for the HPV vaccine. GARDASIL is for girls and women ages 9 to 26. GARDASIL works when given before you have any contact with HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18. If you've already been infected with HPV, you may still benefit from GARDASIL because it is unlikely that you have been infected with all 4 types of the virus covered by the vaccine. Your doctor or healthcare professional can help you understand more. You can also call your local health department. To find contact information for your county health department, select your county on the drop down menu on the left hand menu.