Preventing HPV (human papillomavirus) starts earlier than you think: By age 12, children—girls and boys—should get the HPV vaccine. Vaccination can even begin as early as age nine.
The leading cause of cervical cancer, HPV infection is so common that about 34 percent of all 14- to 24-year-olds (male and female) carry the virus. Whereas condoms are only slightly effective against spreading HPV, the vaccine provides up to 99 percent protection against acquiring and spreading it. The Gardisil vaccine prevents the development of cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers, pre-cancers and lesions, and genital warts.
HPV alters the cells of the cervix, causing changes that can lead to abnormal cells or cancer. Often cervical cancer does not develop until a woman is in her 60s.
It’s optimal to administer three full does of the HPV Gardasil vaccine by 12 years old. The second dose should come one or two months after the first, and the final dose six months after the first.
For those who are not vaccinated during childhood, inoculation is most effective when administered before sexual activity starts.
Find out more about the HPV vaccine during the free webinar hosted by the Katz Institute of Women’s Health tomorrow, May 8, at 7 p.m. Register today to reserve your spot.