Where can I get the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccine is one of the safest and most effective vaccines on the market that should be given to children and young adults alike. It can safely prevent many types of preventable cancer, as well as the complications from the STD itself.
Pharmaca’s pharmacists are some of the best in their field, and focus on individual counsel and care for each patient. We’ve worked with some of the medical industry’s top professionals in order to provide the best and safest immunization services across the country.
Thinking of getting an HPV vaccination? Contact your local Pharmaca pharmacy to schedule an appointment.
We’ve been offering many immunizations recommended by the CDC for certain health concerns and before travel abroad for many years. We accept most major insurance providers so that your immunizations can be convenient and affordable.
What is HPV?
The HPV virus is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD), with 79 million Americans affected. Most of those who contract the HPV virus are in their late teens and early 20s. HPV is unique in that there isn’t just one type of the virus; it’s a group of more than 150 related viruses.
HPV, or human papilloma virus, is named after the warts (papillomas) some of these HPV types can cause. Some HPV types can lead to cancer of the mouth/throat, or anus/rectum, which is caused by virus infections. Men are also at risk of getting penile HPV cancer. Women experience greater risk of developing cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers from an HPV infection.
Fortunately, there are vaccines that can prevent infection from the types of HPV that most commonly cause cancer. Here are answers to commonly asked questions about HPV.
What are the symptoms of HPV?
Most people don’t show any signs of HPV, and may not even have any outward HPV symptoms or health problems. However, the most well known symptom of HPV is genital warts. Some types of HPV virus can cause also cancer.
But while some HPV types can be relatively harmless, there are also certain high-risk types of HPV that will may never show any signs or symptoms until it has has already caused serious health problems.
The type of warts related to the HPV virus may go away on their own over time, but the virus will still remain in the body. Therefore, people can unknowingly pass the infection to sexual partners even if they are not showing any symptoms.
The types of HPV that cause genital warts are different than the types that can cause cancer. So if someone develops warts from HPV, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it would also lead to cancer.
How do you get HPV?
So how is HPV spread? HPV transmission occurs from sexual, skin-to-skin contact with someone who already has the infection. The typical ways HPV is transmitted is when a vulva, vagina, cervix, penis or anus touches someone else’s genitals, mouth or throat, usually during sex.
Does HPV go away?
HPV in men and women is one of the most common STDs, but most of the time it isn’t life altering and the symptoms usually go away on their own. In fact, most people don’t even know that they have HPV. But when HPV does not go away, it can cause health problems like genital warts and cancer.
Is HPV curable?
There is no specific treatment for the virus itself. However, there are HPV treatments for the specific problems that it can cause:
- Genital warts can be treated by a health care provider or with prescription medication. They may go away over time on their own, stay the same or even worsen without being treated as well.
- Cervical precancer istreatable, but prevention using routine Pap tests can identify problems before cancer develops. Prevention is always better than treatment.
- Other HPV-related cancers are also treatable when diagnosed and treated early. For more information visit cancer.org
What is the HPV vaccine?
All of these vaccines prevent infection in HPV types 16 and 18, two high-risk HPVs that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancers, and also for a higher percentage of some of the other HPV-caused cancers.
Gardasil also prevents infection from HPV types 6 and 11, which cause 90 percent of genital warts.
Gardasil 9 prevents infection from the same four HPV types as well as five additional cancer-causing types.
These HPV vaccines do not prevent from getting other STDs, nor do they treat existing HPV infections.
Who should get the HPV vaccine?
Children 11 or 12 years old should get two shots of HPV vaccine 6–12 months apart.
Those children who have not started the vaccine series on or after their fifteenth birthday might need three shots over 6 months.
The HPV vaccine is recommended for young women through age 26, and young men through age 21.
Should men and boys also get the HPV vaccine?
The common misconception is that HPV vaccines are only meant for girls and young women. When the first Gardasil HPV vaccine came out, it was only recommended for girls and women primarily as a method to prevent cervical cancer, one of most serious complications of contracting HPV.
Now that researchers have learned more about HPV, it’s evident that the HPV vaccine also protects against more than cervical cancer, including health issues that affect men. That’s why it’s now recommended that the HPV vaccine be given to boys and young men as well as girls and young women.
HPV vaccine side effects
Some people experience no side effects of the HPV vaccine, but those who do report symptoms that are usually mild, such as a sore arm from the shot for a day or two. The most common HPV shot side effects are generally mild and go away on their own.
Common side effects of the HPV vaccine:
- Pain, redness or swelling in the arm at the injection site
- Headache or feeling tired
- Muscle or joint pain
Other HPV reactions can include brief fainting spells and other related symptoms, such as jerking movements, that can happen after any normal medical procedure.
On rare occasions, severe allergic reactions may occur after a vaccination. People with allergies to different medicines should first consult their health care provider before receiving the HPV vaccination.