We are pleased to be able to offer our patients this important breakthrough in women’s healthcare. We hope this information helps make your decision about the HPV vaccine easier. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation.,
Human papillomavirus or HPV is the virus that causes cervical dysplasia and eventually cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is very common in other parts of the world, where it causes millions of deaths each year. In the United States, Pap smears have been effective in limiting the cases of cervical cancer by detecting its precursor (cervical dysplasia) and treating it. Unfortunately, some women fail to get their Pap smears at timely intervals. By treating girls and young women with the current HPV vaccine, Gardasil, approximately 70 percent of cervical cancer cases can be prevented.
Currently, the HPV vaccine is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for females age 9 through 26. The optimal time to receive the vaccine is prior to first sexual intercourse, which is how HPV is spread. However, since the HPV vaccine is relatively new, guidelines may continue to evolve. The current guidelines dictate how insurance companies are deciding what coverage they will offer to their participants. It is important to check for coverage with your insurance company prior to scheduling your vaccination
Gardasil is a recombinant vaccine that contains proteins from four HPV subtypes. This means there is no virus within the vaccine. Because of this, side effects (pain, swelling, erythema, fever, nausea, pruritus, and dizziness) are minimal and usually go away spontaneously.
Gardasil protects against HPV subtypes 6, 11, 16, and 18. Not only will it prevent nearly 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, but it will prevent 90 percent of genital warts. Another important benefit is the prevention of approximately 50 percent of low-grade cervical dysplasia, which is responsible for many repeat Pap smears, colposcopies, and biopsies.
The vaccine is not 100 percent effective, so routine Pap smears and your complete gynecological exam are still necessary.
The HPV vaccine is an injection. In New York State, all injections must be given by a physician or a nurse. Medical assistants are not permitted to administer the vaccine. The vaccine is given in three doses. The second dose is given two months after the first one, and the third dose is given six months after the first.