HPV—what is it and why should I get vaccinated?

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Author: Dr. Brita McCullough

HPV stands for human papilloma virus. The virus affects human skin and moist membranes that line the body such as the throat, mouth, feet, fingers, nails, anus and cervix in both men and women. This virus is a sexually transmitted infection spread from partner to partner through sexual intercourse. There are over 100 different types of HPV, 40 of which affect the genitals. The virus can cause warts and a small percentage can lead to cancer.

I recommend boys and girls at age 11 receive the HPV vaccine. Children’s immune systems tend to respond better to the vaccine than adults. If a child is not fully vaccinated by this age, women up until age 26 and males up until age 21 are still encouraged to receive the vaccination.

The vaccine is very safe and effective against the most common types of HPV that can lead to more serious disease and cancer. HPV vaccines are given in three shots over a six month time period, which is important to get the best protection! Here at Agnesian HealthCare we use Gardasil—the only vaccine for both men and women — which also protects against genital warts and anal, vaginal and vulvar cancers.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Agnesian HealthCare at (920)929-2300.

About Agnesian HealthCare Womens Health

Addressing the physical, emotional and educational needs of women, Agnesian HealthCare's Women's Health Services offers the resources that apply to your life, in all its wonderful complexity. With a Health Resource Center, Obstetric Services, a Domestic Violence Program, Behavioral Health Services and programs serving women in mid-life, a number of options are available in the Fond du Lac, Ripon and Waupun areas.

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