Understanding The HPV Vaccine

The human papillomavirus or HPV is quite a common strain that has infected many people in one way or the other. Most of the HPV strains that infect people are considerably harmless. But there are around a hundred or so strains of the HPV that prove to cause certain harm such as cause cervical cancer and genital warts. Around 30 of these are known to be transmitted sexually.

HPV Vaccine

For the more harmful strains of the HPV, researchers have been able to develop a certain HPV vaccine called Gardasil that can protect women from two types of HPV known to cause cervical cancer as well as two other strains known commonly to cause genital warts. Introduced to the public in 2006, it has since protected some women from developing resistance to the more harmful strains of HPV. It is recommended for girls ages 11 to 12 years old, before they become sexually active. It is also approved for use to girls as young as 9 years old as well as to women as old as 26 years old provided they haven’t yet been infected by the virus strain of HPV that the vaccine aims to protect them from.

Vaccine Controversy

Although Gardasil has proven its effectiveness in protecting against the more harmful strains of HPV, it has also gone through its own set of controversies. One of them is that the vaccine might encourage adolescent promiscuity. Some of the vaccine’s opponents often cite this reason just to make some women have doubts of getting the vaccine. But the main point is that this vaccine can help prevent the infection as well as spread of the more harmful strains of HPV. This proves to be a more substantive reason than whether the HPV vaccine may encourage teenagers and adolescents to become promiscuous.

Vaccine Use On Males

Although males rarely develop cancer from an HPV infection, using the vaccine may also be considered since they may also develop harmless and yet annoying genital warts which can also be caused by the virus. Moreover, infected men may also transmit the HPV infection to women which may have more serious consequences. Although it may not be common, males may also have themselves vaccinated against HPV. Its use on males has already been approved in Europe and the UK although it has not yet been approved for use on males in the US.

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