As kids and teens visit the doctor each year, more vaccines seem to be available. One of the newest vaccinations is for protection against HPV, or human papillomavirus. This virus is spread mainly through sexual contact, and it’s a strong contributor to cancerous growths later in life. Your doctor will probably suggest an HPV shot when you’re a young adult. It’s important to understand why this is the case.
The Perfect Population
Confusion often occurs with the mention of this vaccination because it involves young adults and sexually transmitted diseases. In fact, parents and teens might think that HPV isn’t necessary at this time because sex isn’t part of the young adult’s life yet. However, HPV vaccinations are most effective on people who haven’t had sexual contact with another person. Ideally, the perfect population for the shot is age 11 or 12. Acquiring the HPV vaccine allows the body to absorb it before any sexual contact occurs. If a teen’s doctor hasn’t suggested the HPV vaccine yet, the parents should ask about it before the patient grows any older. This window of opportunity can mean that no infections will set in for the teen’s entire life.
Benefits of the HPV Vaccine
HPV isn’t a virus that’s noticeable on your body. It can appear and disappear at times, which makes it difficult to pinpoint in some people. In fact, most adults that have HPV aren’t aware of this fact. It’s not a disease that has a marked start-and-finish time period. HPV simply remains with the person for most of his or her life. By volunteering for the HPV vaccine at a young age, you’re protecting yourself from genital warts and certain cancers. HPV contributes to possible penile, vaginal, vulvar, cervical, anal and throat cancers when the person reaches an older age. Without HPV being present in the body, all of these cancers have a lower chance at developing at all.
The Injection Schedule
The HPV vaccination isn’t a one-time shot. It’s actually a collection of three different shots. Scientists and researchers found that the vaccination was much more effective in the human body when it was spread out across several months. Your doctor will schedule an initial vaccination, which is normally performed during your physical. After 4 to 8 weeks, you’ll return to the doctor’s office for a second vaccination. The third and final shot occurs 6 months after your first visit. With these three shots, you’re protected from HPV for a lifetime. At this time, there’s no booster shot that’s necessary if your teen has all three shots performed at the right times.
Possible Side Effects
Unlike other vaccinations, there are very few side effects to the HPV treatment. A few reports of fainting have occurred in some teens so doctors usually ask patients to sit still for about 15 minutes after the initial shot. Dizziness is a common side effect which may contribute to fainting. Because the vaccination has a relatively large liquid volume, your arm will probably be sore after the injection. This soreness should disappear over the next few hours. Alert your doctor if you have any allergies to yeast or latex. The vaccination does exposure one to these elements.
Being vaccinated for HPV doesn’t mean that you’re immune from every sexually transmitted disease. Be aware that safe-sex measures should still be in place, such as wearing a condom. With a vaccination and safe-sex relationships, you should be able to avoid any complications from HPV throughout your entire lifetime.
Learn more about the HPV Vaccine.
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