Three Myths About the HPV Vaccine
January 16, 2014
Since January is Cervical Cancer Awareness month, it is important for everyone to know about the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine. Why, some of you may ask? Well, certain strains of HPV can cause cervical cancer and the vaccine protects against two of those strains as well as two other high-risk strains that can cause genital warts. There are many myths and misconceptions about the vaccine, but there are three main ones that we wanted to clear up.
Myth #1: It doesn’t work.
It does work! While there are many of strains of HPV, some are more serious, and some the immune system can clear on its own. Studies show that the HPV vaccine is effective in preventing the transmission of nine types of HPV, including the two strains most likely to cause cervical cancer and the two strains most likely to cause genital warts. The vaccine is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Myth #2: Guys can’t be vaccinated.
In 2009 the FDA approved the vaccine for males. The HPV vaccine not only protects against cervical cancer, but also protects against two strains of HPV that cause 90 percent of genital warts in both males and females. In addition, it protects against another five strains that can lead to cancer of the anus, cervix, penis, throat or vulva/vagina.
While it’s recommended that people get the vaccine before becoming sexually active, it has now been approved for those up to age 45.
Myth #3: Only people who have had sex need to be vaccinated.
As I just mentioned, it’s usually recommended that a person is vaccinated at a young age when they may not have had sex yet. You really want to get the vaccine before you are exposed to the virus rather than when you are sexually active and have already possibly been exposed to it.
No matter your gender, it’s important that you know your facts. The HPV vaccine benefits those who choose to be vaccinated and in the long run could potentially prevent someone from getting cervical cancer or spreading a strain of HPV that could cause cervical cancer. Now that you know what’s true and what’s false, it’s up to you to consider whether or not getting the vaccine is right for you.