Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the country. It’s so common that more than 80% of sexually active Americans contract it in their lifetimes, and many may never know they have it.
While most cases of HPV go away eventually, the virus carries serious risks. HPV is a leading cause of genital warts, and it’s the primary cause of cervical cancer. It also causes other cancers, including throat, mouth, vulva, vagina, penis, and anus cancers.
Fortunately, HPV vaccination can protect against over 90% of cancers linked to HPV. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends HPV vaccination for all preteens — girls and boys — and our team at Solace Women's Care is here to answer your questions about the vaccine and how it works.
Farly Sejour, MD, and Natalie Gould, WHNP-BC, offer Gardasil-9®, the only FDA-licensed HPV vaccine available in the United States. It’s recommended for preteens ages 11-12, and here's what you need to know about it.
All about Gardasil-9
Gardasil-9 is an HPV vaccination that’s administered as a series of two or three doses. It protects against nine different types of HPV, including 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58. Types 16 and 18 in particular are linked to certain types of cancer and other serious health issues.
The vaccination protects against HPV and HPV-related cancers because it gives your body the opportunity to build an immune defense before you come in contact with the disease. It’s most effective before you’re exposed to HPV, which is why it’s recommended for preteens before they become sexually active.
Gardasil-9 helps lower your risk of HPV infection, which means a lesser likelihood of complications over the course of your life, including genital warts, cervical cancer, and other cancers.
Ages 11-12: the best time to get an HPV vaccine
The CDC recommends that all preteen girls and boys get HPV vaccination around ages 11-12. Gardasil-9 is most effective before you’re exposed to HPV through sexual contact, and it continues to protect against HPV-related cancers for the rest of your life.
Full HPV vaccination includes two shots, spaced 6-12 months apart. We offer HPV vaccination for preteens at Solace Women's Care, and Dr. Sejour and our team can help you decide when is the right time to vaccinate your child.
Although vaccination between ages 11-12 is recommended, the HPV vaccine is approved for children as young as 9 years old. If you’re curious about HPV vaccination for a child younger than 11, ask our team for more information.
Preteens who start the vaccine series before their 15th birthday need only two doses. But if your child doesn’t get their first shot by age 15, it’s not too late.
Teens and young adults can get vaccinated for HPV until age 26. After age 15, your child needs a series of three immunizations to protect against HPV. If your child is between the ages of 9 and 14, and they received two doses of the vaccine less than five months apart, they may also need a third dose.
Over age 26
Since HPV vaccination is most effective before a person becomes sexually active, it’s not recommended for most people over age 26.
However, some people can still benefit from HPV vaccination later in life. If you’re an adult and you’ve never had HPV vaccination, talk to Dr. Sejour and our team to learn more about your options.
HPV vaccination is an important part of your child’s preventive care, and it sets them up for a lifetime of better health. Call our office at 936-441-7100 to schedule a consultation and get your questions answered about Gardasil-9.