HPV Vaccine Expanded to Age 45!

It’s officially 2019, and a large component of this new year should be your health. This month we’re focusing on  how you can protect yourself and your family from HPV and cervical pre-cancerous and cancerous cell growth.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a sexually transmitted infection that contributes to over 90% of cervical and anal cancer, as well as vaginal, vulvar, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers and many abnormal cell growths. Fortunately, Gardasil 9 (an HPV vaccine) not only protects you from 9 different strains of HPV, but is 88% effective at preventing genital warts, and cervical, vulvar and vaginal pre-cancerous lesions related to HPV.

Previously, the HPV vaccine was only recommended for women between the ages of 11 and 26 years old. Today, the vaccine can be given to men and women between the ages of 9 and 45 years old. HPV vaccines are given in a series of 2-3 shots depending on the person’s age. If the person falls between the ages of 15 through 45 years old, the vaccine is given through a three shot series. The second shot is given two months after the initial shot and the final shot is given four months after the second shot. In short, it takes about six months to become fully vaccinated. For those ages 9 through 14 years old, the vaccine is given in a two shot series. Where the second shot is given 6 months after the first. Although the recommended age to receive the HPV vaccine is before a person has had any intimate activity, it’s never too late to start protecting yourself and your family.

How to Decide if You Should Get the Vaccine

Ultimately, the choice to get vaccinated or not is a personal one. You will want to discuss the HPV vaccine with your healthcare provider. If you don’t have a dedicated healthcare provider yet, you can reach out to us to learn more about the HPV vaccine and how it will apply to your life and medical situation.

If you and your partner are HPV negative and you are planning to stay with that partner for the rest of your life, then you may not need the HPV vaccine. However, not everyone has that level of certainty and confidence to say that they will be with one single person for their entire life. Some may, and may feel confident in their decision to not get an HPV vaccine.

However, it’s a much safer choice to get the HPV vaccine even if you think you might only have one partner for the rest of your life. It’s much better to have been vaccinated for HPV and to not need it, than to need it and not have received the HPV vaccination that may have prevented a case of HPV in your life.

When in doubt, talk to your healthcare provider about the HPV vaccine and questions that you have. Know that you don’t have to make the decision on your own without having talked to a healthcare professional.

What Are the Side Effects of Gardasil 9 (HPV Vaccine)?

Studies of numerous individuals have been done to test the impact of Gardasil 9 (HPV vaccine). The most notable side effects found as a result of the HPV vaccination are comparatively minor for what an individual gains in protection.

According to cancer.org, over 270 million doses of the HPV vaccine have been administered across the world, 100 million of which have taken place in the US. Studies continuously show that it is a safe vaccination to receive, even with the temporary side-effects that occasionally show up for some individuals.

At the start, an individual may feel faint during the first 15 minutes after receiving Gardasil 9, and in rare extreme cases they may feel seizure-like reactions. Note that you should not receive a booster vaccine if you’ve had a life-threatening allergic reaction to the first shot of Gardasil 9.

After the initial feeling of being faint from the initial injection of the vaccine, below are the most common side effects that individuals have noted after receiving the HPV vaccine:

  • Feeling tired
  • Fever
  • Muscle and/or joint pain
  • Headache
  • Redness, pain, and/or swelling at the injection site of the HPV vaccination.

The HPV Vaccine Is Not a Cure, but It Can Still Prevent Other Strains of HPV

If you or someone you know has already been affected with HPV, getting an HPV vaccine will not treat the infection. However, it can protect you from becoming infected with other strains of HPV and may help prevent pre-cancerous and cancerous cell growth later on in life.

It becomes increasingly important to get the HPV vaccine if you are someone that is, or may become sexually active. Of the sexually transmitted diseases out there, HPV is among the most prevalent. Even if someone has been HPV-negative their entire life and then decide to become sexually active, it’s possible to still acquire the HPV virus even in their 40s. It’s even possible to still get HPV if someone is sexually active with someone who has only had one other partner in their life.

Start the New Year Well: Contact NCHS about the HPV Vaccine Today

If you would like more information on the HPV vaccine you can contact NCHS Women’s Health Services at (760) 757-5841 or your primary care provider. Whether you’re in your 20s or your 40s, there is benefit to receiving the HPV vaccination if you have not yet had it administered. You can help to reduce the likelihood of receiving a preventable disease simply by visiting a healthcare professional like NCHS.

Bring us questions that you have or contact us to get started with the HPV vaccination process. It’s a safe and effective form of preventive care.