HPV Vaccine Tips

Medical professionals recommend the HPV vaccine for preteens between 11 and 12 years of age because it is better to get vaccinated before becoming involved in sexual intercourse. If a girl is vaccinated before entering her teenage years, she will have protection against HPV when she becomes a teenager and possibly starts having sex.

The HPV vaccine has received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as effective at preventing HPV and HPV-related illnesses, such as genital warts and cervical cancer. The FDA recommends everyone between 9 and 45 get the vaccine if they have not gotten it already.

The effects of the HPV vaccine on pregnant women and new mothers are still unknown. But as a safety precaution, medical professionals advise pregnant women to avoid getting the vaccine until after giving birth. Then, a new mother or breastfeeding woman should talk with their primary care physician about whether it is safe for them to get the HPV vaccine.

Unvaccinated women 45 and younger should consult their doctor or nurse practitioner regarding whether they should receive the HPV vaccine. Even if a woman received some HPV vaccine shots previously, she could need more based on her health status and age.

Helpful Vaccine Tips 

Do you have more questions about the HPV vaccine and anything else related? Here are some helpful tips to better inform you about it:

  • You should get the HPV vaccine even if you have already engaged in sexual intercourse with another person. It could protect you from some HPV strains you have not contracted previously.
  • Continue using a condom each time you have sex. It’ll reduce the risk of contracting HPV or other sexually transmitted infections.
  • Vaccinated women should still get pap smears because the HPV vaccine doesn’t offer complete protection against every HPV strain out there. As a result, there is still some risk of contracting a high-risk HPV strain known to cause cervical cancer. Unfortunately, the vaccine won’t always protect you from it.
  • It is possible to have HPV even if your pap test results return normal because early cervical abnormalities don’t always reveal themselves on a pap test. So, continue to get HPV and pap testing periodically to look for changes.
  • Women over 30 with negative results on a pap test and HPV test have the lowest risk of getting cervical cancer within the following couple of years.
  • If your immune system eradicates the HPV in your body, you are still susceptible to another HPV infection in the future.
  • A woman can transmit HPV to another woman during sex.

Always discuss your sexual history and known health status with your partner before agreeing to have sex with them. In addition, continue seeking appointments with your doctor to get tested for HPV and cervical cancer, especially if you start to notice genital warts or other symptoms.

HPV Assistance Organizations

The OWH Helpline can provide you with more information regarding HPV and how to protect yourself from it. Their number is 1-800-994-9662.

Other helpful entities include:

  • National Cancer Institute (NCI), NIH, HHS – Call: 800-422-6237
  • American Sexual Health Association – Call: 800-227-8922
  • Planned Parenthood – Call: 800-230-7526