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HPV Vaccine 200 x 200

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. Nine out of ten sexually active men and women have been exposed to HPV and the Centers for Disease Control estimates 79 million Americans are currently infected with some form of HPV.

An HPV infection usually has no symptoms and often goes away on its own, but HPV can lead to cervical, vulvar, vaginal, anal or penile cancer. The only visible signs of an HPV infection may be genital warts that appear as small cauliflower-like bumps, flat sores, or tiny stem-like protrusions. Using a condom doesn’t eliminate the risk because any skin-to-skin contact can spread HPV.

Because HPV is so prevalent, it makes prevention even more important. Since 2014, there has been a vaccine available that can prevent HPV from developing into cancer, and now even more people can be protected with vaccination.

In October, the FDA approved the use of the Gardasil 9 HPV vaccine for men and women ages 27 to 45. That’s in addition to the previously recommended vaccination for everyone between the ages of 9 and 26.

The expanded guidelines come after a three-year study showed that the vaccine was 88% effective in the prevention of vulvar, vaginal and cervical precancerous lesions, cervical cancer and genital warts caused by the most common HPV strains.

The HPV vaccine is recommended at an age before someone becomes sexually active, but if you’re sexually active now the vaccination can protect you from future HPV exposure through your 20s, 30s, and 40s. That’s important because the CDC estimates about 14 million people in the U.S. are newly infected with HPV each year.

The most effective way of preventing HPV from becoming cancer is routine gynecological checkups. Pap smears can show any abnormal cell changes on the cervix, and HPV tests can identify infection or recent infection with human papillomavirus.

In addition to these regular checkups, being physically active and not smoking can improve your immune system and make it less likely that an HPV infection will lead to genital warts or cancer.

Schedule your appointment at Northline Women’s Health Center today by calling 734-282-3600 or by visiting our website.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax