HPV or human papillomavirus is an infection that is sexually transmitted and is quite common. The virus can cause cervical cancer as well as genital warts. The HPV vaccine was developed to be given to females starting at age 9 through age 25 for Cervarix and age 26 for Gardasil and Gardasil 9. The vaccine is given in three shots over a six month period. The second one is given about two months after the first and the third four months after the second shot.
HPV Vaccines Then
The first HPV vaccine was Gardasil. It was approved for use in June 2006 and covered types 6, 11, 16, and 18. Types 6 and 11 cause approximately 90% of genital warts. Types 16 and 18 are the ones that can cause cervical cancer.
Another vaccine Cervarix was approved by the FDA in October 2009. This vaccine prevents precancerous lesions and cervical cancer caused by types 16 and 18.
HPV Vaccines Now
The latest HPV vaccine, 9vHPV was released in December 2014. This vaccine was licensed by the FDA for females from age 9 to 26 years as well as males from age 9 to 26 years. This vaccine protects against nine types of HPV that often lead to vulvar, cervical, and anal cancers. The percentages of protection with this vaccine for vulvar, cervical, and anal cancers rose to 80% compared to 65% with the old vaccines.
In addition to the four types covered by the first HPV vaccine Gardasil, it also protects against five other strains (HPV-31, HPV-33, HPV-45, HPV-52, and HPV-58) that cause approximately 20% of cervical cancers.
As one of the most commonly transmitted sexual infections in the US, HPV has been shown to not only cause cervical cancer in females but it can cause cancers of the mouth and throat, penis, and anus in men. Due to research in 1983 that showed the link between the virus and cancers, HPV vaccinations were developed and recommended for use for females beginning in 2006 and males in 2011.
The Center for Disease Control or CDC recommends the vaccinations to reduce the high numbers of women who get cervical cancer each year. That number is about 29,600 currently and approximately 4,000 die from the cancer. Estimates of males with HPV related cancers are 9,300 yearly. Studies also show that about 64% of these cancers are caused by HPV types 16 and 18.
Although the vaccine can help, women are still urged to get screenings for cervical cancer. This is because many people can become infected with HPV and most of the time the infection will go away on its own without causing problems. However in some instances it does not.
Approximately 14 million people are infected with HPV every year and the total number of people who are currently infected is around 79 million. This virus is so common that at some time in their life almost every sexually active woman and man will contract one type of HPV. HPV vaccines are the best way to protect against the types of cancers caused by human papillomavirus.
Mark Sadaka from Vaccine Injury Help Center, the leading Vaccine Injury Attorney, has a national practice and works with clients from New York to Alaska.