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cervical cancer

Can a girl get vaccinated against HPV even if she's already sexually active?

Anonymous asks:

One of the ways to help prevent cervical cancer and/or HPV infection is by taking a vaccination with HPV vaccine. I read it somewhere and it says that ideally females should get the vaccine before they are sexually active. This is because the vaccine is most effective in women/girls who have not yet acquired any of the HPV types covered by the vaccine. I'm just wondering, what if the female had sex only once and no protection was used and the guy did not ejaculate into the vagina. In other words, the female is sexually active. Well, if she had sex even once, its still considered as sexually active right? So what if the female is sexually active, like how I described it? Is there any difference? I mean, the female can still take the vaccination but is there any side effects or its the same as a female who is not sexually active since they guy did not ejaculate? thank you (:

The STI Files: Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

As many as one in ten Americans have HPV, and some studies show that at least one-third of all sexually active young adults have genital HPV infections. It is often stated that more than half of all college-age women wil become infected with HPV during their college career.

Condoms Protect Against Cervical Cancer

"Using condoms consistently and properly significantly reduces the risk of infection by the virus [HPV] that causes cervical cancer among newly sexually active women."

This probably isn't a big surprise for most people but it does take away a tool of the abstinence-only camp. For years they've been disparaging condom efficacy because condoms weren't proven to make a difference with things like HPV.

Between this study and the new vaccine HPV is looking more and more managable all the time.

Read more...

FDA Approves HPV Vaccination

The vaccine, Gardisil, is only approved for women and girls right now but its maker (Merck) is looking into its use in boys and men. Hopefully it will be available to males soon since they can also be infected and transmit the virus to their partners. A few things have to be cleared up yet, such as at what age girls should be vaccinated and if pediatricions should include it in their vaccination schedules. The CDC makes its reccomendations June 29th.

The only downside I can see is the cost: $300 - $500 for a vaccine that only lasts four years. Many communities do offer financial help for medical needs like vaccines whether via sliding scales or specific programs so hopefully this will accessible for everyone. Globally, this has the potential save 200,000 lives each year that would otherwise be ended by cervical cancer.

More information on the vaccine: What Does Gardasil Mean For Women?

More information on HPV: STI File: Human Papilloma Virus (HPV, Warts) and Herpes & HPV.

Read more...

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