Today I Was Vaccinated Against HPV

Today I received my third and final shot of Gardasil, the HPV vaccine.

A few weeks shy of my 23rd birthday, I am part of the first generation of women to receive this vaccine.

I have to be honest: as far as shots go, it's pretty vile. It hurt more than my tattoos did (of course, to be fair, the tattoos took much, much longer). However, (probably) being protected from four strains of HPV- the four that cause the majority of cervical cancer and genital warts- is worth it.

I say probably protected because I have been sexually active for several years: while I have practiced safer sex, there is no guarantee that I am HPV-free. However, it's highly unlikely that I have all four of the strains that the vaccine can protect against.

Today also happens to be about a month or so after discovering that one of my friends- an intelligent, funny, and all-around-wonderful woman- has cervical cancer. If she was ten years younger, she could have gotten the vaccine that likely would have helped to prevent this. My heart goes out to her.

I personally urge young women to consider getting this vaccine, and for parents to consider it for their daughters (and, hopefully one day, sons). We have a vaccine against cancer- and it's not a second too soon.

For more information, take a look at The HPV Vaccine FAQ.


I agree with you. First, I´d like to say congradulations on getting vaccinated! I´m happy for you. I´m sorry to hear about your friend. Just let her know that she can overcome it! As for others, I really do agree that young girls that are of age get the vaccine. I also hope that soon they will make a vaccine for men, because although I probably don´t have it, I would feel really guilty giving it to someone when I didn´t know I had it :(
- Jase Watson

- Jase Watson

I'm not getting the vaccine. I don't care what anyone says, there are negative side effects to this so called "cancer preventing vaccine".

Obviously, it's anyone's choice to get vaccinated or not, even were there no possible side effects at all.

But just so anyone can make a choice informed by accurate information, here's a really good piece from Our Bodies, Ourselves (an org with a very long history of being wary of western healthcare's approach to women's bodies) to provide some perspective on ideas about side effects and where a lot of them are coming from:

Editor & Founder, Scarleteen: Sex Ed for the Real World
Author, S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-to-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and Col

I'm sixteen and got the first shot (of three) a few months ago, and since then have done some research around the 'liberal/radical underground' of the internet.

Some of the info I found was a bit dodgy- claims that if you already have the HPV virus- which, according to 90% of the sites I checked out, does not actually cause cancer- then getting the vaccine can cause cancer.
Of course, there was also plenty of info extolling the vaccine; that's not hard to find.

After doing a lot of research and reading, I have decided not to get the other two shots.
Obviously, the choice is up to everyone... but if I could offer just one bit of advice to all girls/female-bodied people out there... DO YOUR RESEARCH

(search 'Gardasil' on