Which virus strains does the HPV vaccine protect against?

Clinical trials have shown that both Gardasil and Cervarix are safe and 100% effective in preventing HPV strains 16 and 18, which cause 70% of cervical cancers. Gardasil is also 99% effective in preventing HPV strains 6 and 11, which cause about 90% of genital wart cases. Both vaccines are given in three injections over six months. Although both Gardasil and Cervarix prevent two of the most serious high-risk HPV strains in women not previously exposed to them, they do not protect against all cancer-causing strains, so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends continued screening with regular Pap tests.
UCLA gynecologic oncologist Sanaz Memarzadeh, M.D., Ph.D., notes that although the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is aimed at only two of HPV’s cancer-causing subtypes, recent studies suggest that it may also carry some protective benefit against other strains that share its key genetic elements. Because the HPV vaccine does not prevent all cervical cancers, women are strongly urged to continue obtaining regular Pap smears even if they have been vaccinated.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.