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Why Is It Important to Get the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) Vaccine?

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) reports that nearly one out of four people in the United States are infected with the HPV virus (Human Papillomavirus). In many cases, the HPV virus goes unnoticed because the person does not display any types of symptoms. In fact, studies suggest that close to 90 percent of the time, the HPV virus goes away on its own within two years and the person may not even know they had it.

The Dangers of HPV

Unfortunately, one in ten people are not so lucky. In these cases, the HPV virus does not go away on its own, but rather remains in the body of the infected person. This, in turn, can lead to serious health conditions, including genital warts are several types of cancers, including cancer of the cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal, and throat. In fact, nearly all cases of cervical cancer are caused by the HPV virus.

Many people fighting these types of cancers and/or genital warts, did not even know that they had the HPV virus until the cancer was found. With virtually no symptoms, the only way to fight the HPV virus is to take preventative measures.

Benefits of the HPV Vaccine

The good news is that the HPV vaccine can significantly reduce the risk of getting HPV in the first place. There are more than 150 known strains of HPV, and the HPV vaccine is designed to protect against those strains that are known to cause either cancer or genital warts. By reducing the risk of getting the HPV virus, the vaccine also will reduce the risk of getting genital warts or cancer caused by HPV.

Is the HPV Vaccine Safe?

To date, more than 80 million doses of the HPV vaccine have been administered. In most cases, the person does not have any side effect. Some patients, however, experience mild side effects, such as redness, pain, swelling, nausea, and dizziness, for a short period of time after getting the HPV vaccine. In rare cases, some people have experienced an allergic reaction to the HPV vaccine. This is most common among those who also have latex or yeast allergies.

Who Should Get the HPV Vaccine?

The American Cancer Society recommends that all teenagers, both male and female, have the HPV vaccine. Children between the ages of 11 and 12-years old will be required to have only two doses of the HPV virus. Children 13-years old or older, on the other hand, require three separate doses, spaced 6 to 12 months apart.

Women who do not receive the HPV vaccine as a teenager, but are 26-years old or younger, also should have the HPV vaccine. In addition, young man, who did not get the vaccine as a teenager and are under the age of 21-years old should have the vaccine. It also is recommended that members of the LGBT community who did not get the vaccine as a teenager and are 26-years or younger get the HPV vaccine.

It is estimated that more than 4,000 women will die from cervical cancer this year. You don’t have to be one of them. The HPV vaccine is easy to administer with minimal side effects, yet it provides a lifetime of protection against a potentially deadly virus. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Get your HPV vaccine today.

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