Vaccines are a safe and easy way to protect yourself against diseases with serious and sometimes fatal side effects. Though many deadly diseases don’t have vaccines yet, several major ones do. HPV is one such condition, and protecting yourself against it can be a lifesaver.
HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a sexually transmitted infection that is incurable once a person contracts it. For women, the condition can cause genital warts, vaginal itchiness, respiratory lesions, and progress into cervical cancer. Symptoms aren’t always obvious for everyone, so it’s quite possible to spread or contract HPV and not realize until it’s too late. Though this condition is serious and potentially fatal, due to the efficacy of its vaccine, Gardasil 9, numbers of HPV cases are on the decline.
Though it’s often hard to think about young children growing up and becoming sexually active, this type of foresight could save your child’s life. Gardasil 9 doses should begin when a person is approximately 11 or 12 years old to ensure that they are fully protected, though it’s possible to begin as early as age 9 or as late as age 45 if recommended by a healthcare provider. The vaccine administration occurs in two or three doses approximately six months apart and causes few side effects other than minor bruising or swelling at the injection site.
Though the spread of HPV can occur between people of any gender, women need to protect themselves. Because HPV can progress into cancer, early prevention and detection are critical. Even if you already have a strain of HPV, you should consider getting the vaccine, as it can protect you against other and more serious strains. This vaccine is a key addition to women’s preventive health care. In tandem with safe sex practices, regular pap smears, and staying healthy overall, Gardasil 9 is moving to make HPV-related cervical cancer a thing of the past. No matter what stage of life you’re in or where you are on your preventive health journey, seek a professional medical provider. With a knowledgeable team on your side, your gynecological health will be in the best hands possible.