Dr. Diane Harper - Who Is a Candidate for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine?

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There are two HPV vaccines. One is named Gardasil the other is named Cervarix. Both of those vaccines have been approved for women from the ages of 9 through 26. These vaccines are used to prevent high risk HPV types from infecting the cervix. The age range at which women are most sexually active is between the ages of 16 and 25.

Those are the ages at which HPV infection is very, very common going as high as 40% in some of these women. So if you're going to use an HPV vaccine to prevent infection, you want to make sure that it is going to be effective in that age range. So although the highest age range for HPV infections is between 16 and 25 the vaccines actually recommended at an earlier age than that.

The age at which you choose to vaccinate yourself or your daughter can be different though. You may want to customize it to when she's most likely to have sexual activity so that you can cover the most broad age range which's affected, if you're vaccinated at the age of 9 the vaccine is probably or not going to be effective by the time she's 19 and that really leaves a big opening for HPD infections at a later point in her adolescence.