HPV Vaccine FAQs
Please find below answers to some of the most common questions we receive from Raleigh women about the HPV vaccine:
- What is HPV
- Who is at risk for HPV?
- Who should receive the HPV vaccine?
- How is the HPV vaccine given?
- Are there possible side effects of the HPV vaccine?
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a widespread virus and is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 79 million people in the U.S. had this virus. There are many different types of HPV; some cause no harm. Others can cause diseases of the genital area. For most people, the virus goes away on its own. When the virus does not go away, it can develop into cervical cancer, precancerous lesions, or warts of the vagina, vulva, anus and cervix depending on the HPV type. The immunization helps protect against four types of HPV.
The CDC estimated that nearly all sexually active people contract HPV during their lifetime. Many people who have HPV may not show any signs or symptoms. This means that they can pass on the virus to others without even being aware of it.
All girls and boys at ages 11 or 12 should receive the HPV vaccine. Anyone who is ages 13 through 26, and did not get or complete the vaccine earlier, should discuss getting it now. Pre-teens should complete the 3 doses long before their first sexual contact, so that they have time to develop protection. Also, at this age, their immune response creates better protection than an older teen would develop.
The HPV vaccine is given in three (3) shots over six (6) months. After the first injection, you will get a second dose two months later and the third dose six months after the first dose.
The most commonly reported side effects are swelling, pain, itching and redness at the injection site as well as fainting. If you have further questions about the HPV vaccine, please contact your Wilkerson OBGYN provider or you may visit the CDC website. If you are interested in receiving this vaccine, please call our office at (919) 571-1040 to schedule your appointment.