The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is an extremely infectious virus that is the leading cause of cervical cancer, a deadly disease that kills thousands of women each year. HPV is also the cause of 90% of genital warts. HPV is transmitted through contact with infected genital skin, mucous membranes, or bodily fluids, and can be transmitted through intercourse and oral sex. The virus can infect skin not normally covered by a condom, so using a condom does not fully protect someone from the virus. In other words, you do not have to have intercourse to get HPV.
Still wondering if you need the vaccine? If you are a male or female between the ages of 9 to 26, the answer is “YES.”
There are two vaccines currently approved for HPV protection. At Northland, we offer Gardasil because it covers 4 strains of the virus instead of 2, and is approved for men and women.
Gardasil helps prevent HPV-related cancer and diseases caused by HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18.
The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Cancer Society, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists all agree and support CDC recommendations for routine vaccination with Gardasil.
HPV is a virus you may not even know you have, and your partner may not know they have given it to you. Once sexual activity has begun, the likelihood of contracting HPV is 40% within two years and more than 50% within four years!
If you do not have insurance coverage and/or you’re unable to afford the vaccine, Merck, the pharmaceutical company that has developed and produced Gardasil, has a Patient Assistance Program that may help you get the immunization. The Health Center for Women has applications available in our offices. It only takes about 20 minutes to find out if you are eligible. Please stop in at any of our locations to find out.
Have questions? Want to schedule an appointment for your Gardasil vaccination? Call Northland today to set up an appointment.