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HPV Vaccine Recommendations Expanded

HPV Vaccine Recommendations Expanded

Good news—there’s a new HPV vaccine to protect you from the virus and its related diseases.

When Sony Pictures was hacked in 2017, the world learned they required actors to fill out a Cold Sore Questionnaire in an attempt to prevent the spread of the herpes simplex virus on the set. Nationally, around 50 percent of adults are infected with oral herpes.

Like the herpes virus, human papilloma virus (HPV) spreads through physical contact—and an HPV Questionnaire would reveal that 90 percent of men and 80 percent of women are infected with at least one type of HPV at some point in their life. Around one-half of those infections are from an HPV strain associated with high risk for anogenital warts and cancer.

The good news: An HPV vaccination, Gardasil 9, can prevent anogenital warts and over 90 percent of HPV-related cancers from nine strains of the virus.

The very good news: The FDA has approved the vaccine for adults 27 to 45. That’s because even if you’ve been exposed previously to HPV, the vaccine can protect you from future infections that affect different body parts (anus, throat, vagina, cervix, penis).

One study looked at the effectiveness of a vaccine that tackled HPV-16 and -18 (the main cancer-causing strains) and found it was 58 percent effective in preventing oral, anal and cervical cancer in previously infected women and a “nonsignificant” 25 percent (although not to those 25 percent!) with active cervical HPV16/18 infection. So even if you’ve had an HPV infection, vaccination can provide protection, especially if you’re in—or have been in—a non-monogamous relationship, or may be in the future.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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