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HPV Vaccine questions

Mariah Asks:

I am 15 years old n I was wondering if I could still get the shots if I have had sex?.. I heard you are supposed to get it before u have sex but it's to late for that so I just want to know, thanks

Ideally, females should get vaccinated before they become sexually active. This is because the vaccines are most effective in girls/women who have not yet been exposed to the types of HPV covered by the vaccines. Girls/women who have not been exposed or infected with these types get the full benefit of the vaccine. However, if you are already sexually active, you may also benefit from the vaccines. It is unlikely that you have been exposed to all the HPV types that the vaccines protect against. So you are likely to get some protection but you may not get as much protection as someone who had the shot before they were exposed to HPV.

CS Asks:


Not everyone gets their HPV shots according to the recommended schedule.   The first shot gives you some protection, but not as much as when you have all three shots. There does not appear to be a reduced effectiveness in those who get the 2nd and 3rd doses at a later time.  Call your doctor’s office to reschedule as soon as possible.

lea Asks:

I had my 1st and 2nd injection of it ok if my 3rd injection is Cervarix? My doctor doesn't have a stock of Gardasil.

The Federal Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends continuing the 3-shot series with the vaccine with which you first started.  However, it is permissible to finish with the other vaccine when the first one isn’t  available or is unknown. You should get the same level of protection.

julie Asks:

I'm due for my 2nd shot of HPV. However, I still have a cold and cough.  Is it okay to continue with my scheduled shot? thanks

There is no contraindication to getting your HPV shot because you have a cold.  But we all know that colds and infections are tough on the immune system and our bodies.  Just to make it easier on yourself, you might consider delaying your second shot a few weeks so you can get the shot when your immune system is not fighting any infections. Bottom line: it’s slightly better to wait until the cold is over, but it is okay to get the shot even if you have a cold.

steph Asks:

I have recently visited the doctor to get my first shot.   This month I'm going to get the second dose. I have had unprotected sex, but he pulled out before anything. Am  Istill exposed...and will the shot still help me prevent HPV???

The vaccines give the best protection if they are given before you have any sexual  contact . Since you have had the first shot, you should already have some protection against certain types of HPV infection. However, you will have less protection than if you have had all three shots before you engaged in sexual activity.  You may or may not already be infected. HPV is spread very easily. It can be spread even without intercourse and it is often spread in the first several sexual encounters.  You should plan to get the second and third shots on schedule.  They will offer you still more prevention protection against HPV infection than you have with just the one shot. Good luck to you.

selena Asks:

I am 44 years old. Would it be beneficial to take the vaccine? If so, which shall I take, Gardasil or Cervarix? Or, it offers no protection since I am of this age group?

In many countries, including the United States, the vaccine is not approved for use in all age groups.  Generally, the age cap is over 26 years of age. The studies to see if it works in women in the over 26 age groups are ongoing.  As more data becomes available, these recommendations might change.  You should discuss your individual risks and benefits for use of an HPV vaccine outside of recommendations with your healthcare provider. He or she can also advise you on which vaccine to get.

Lisa Asks:

I have had a wart on my foot for several years now. I didn't know that plantars was caused by a strain of HPV until after I received the Gardasil treatment. Will the vaccine still work?

There are about 100 different types of HPV that cause different diseases.  Some cause plantar warts like you have. Some HPV types cause different types of warts that affect the genitals. These are called genital warts. Other types of HPV cause cervical cancer. The HPV or Cervical Cancer Vaccines, Gardasil© and Cervarix©, protect against certain types of HPV, not all types of HPV. The vaccine that you have had,  Gardasil©, protects against 4 types of HPV: 16 and 18 that cause 70% of cervical cancer and 6 and 11 that cause about 90% of genital warts. Gardasil© does not protect against plantar warts. So, your vaccination does not affect your plantar warts. However, if you haven’t been exposed previously to HPV types 16 or 18 or 11 or 6, the vaccine will provide you protection against these types.

smiley Asks:

I was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma when I was pregnant. I had a hysterectomy after delivery. I am HPV neg. Everyone always asked if they should get the shot & would it have helped me? Am I correct in saying that it would not have helped me, that it prevents HPV or did I understand wrong. It was a stressful time.

You are right in saying that the HPV or Cervical Cancer Vaccines are designed to prevent HPV infection, not to treat infections that have already occurred.  Therefore, getting the vaccine after you’d already been diagnosed with adenocarcinoma would not have helped you with that infection. However, if you are in the age group eligible for the vaccine (9-26 in the US) and you haven’t been exposed to all the types of HPV that the vaccines protect against, then you might have gotten protection against additional cervical infections. These are questions to ask your doctor about.  Good luck to you and remember to keep your regular appointments.

sophia Asks:

I have had my 3rd cervical cancer jab but I was on my period. Is that a problem?

The vaccines are given over 3 visits: the first visit, then in about 2 months, and the last one at 6 months from the first.  You can still safely get the shot when you are having your period.

Maria Asks:

Hi, I had the LEEP done 1 month ago. Is it adviceable to get the vaccination for HPV after the LEEP?

There are a number of factors that will help answer your question. First, your age. The vaccines are recommended in the US for women ages 9-26. Second, your sexual history.  The more sexual partners you’ve had and the earlier you initiated having sex, the more likely you are to have been exposed to the types of HPV that the vaccines protect against.  The vaccines prevent getting certain types of HPV. But if you already have the HPV, the vaccine does not clear the virus and getting the vaccine will not be very effective for you. Please talk to your healthcare provider about this question. Together you can decide whether getting vaccinated is right for you.

Ericson Asks:

If you missed the exact schedule for the third dose of hpv vaccine like a week after or a month will it still be effective? And how long it must be to be reschedule?

You should try to do your best to get the shot on time.  However, if you do not get it on time, there does not appear to be a reduced response in those who get the 2nd and 3rd doses at a later time.  Call your doctor’s office to reschedule as soon as possible.

Koel Sen Asks:

Am 23 years old.Recently I developed Genital Warts that I am treating.My query is-since I have already got Genital Warts should I be taking a vaccine(Gardasil)against both, cancer and warts or Cervarix that prevents only cancer? Will a vaccine against some strains of warts prevent them from recurring?

There are two vaccines to prevent getting certain types of HPV.  Cervarix protects against two HPV types that prevent infection by 2 HPV strains that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases. Gardasil protects against 4 types of HPV including 2 strains that cause genital warts plus the same 2 strains that cause most of the cases of cervical cancer. But if you already have the HPV, the vaccine does not clear the virus and getting the vaccine will not be very effective for you. Please talk to your healthcare provider about this question. Together you can decide whether getting vaccinated is right for you and if so, which vaccine you should have.

bhavana Asks:

Hi! I have taken one shot of the vaccination but wish to discontinue for some personal reasons. Can I do that or does it have any repercussions or side effects if you leave the course in between. Thanks

The vaccines are designed to be given in 3 doses to get the most protection against future HPV infections. If you miss the recommended time for the second or third dose, get the next dose as soon as convenient. You will likely still get all or most of the same protection that you would have gotten had you followed the recommended schedule. But if you do not get the second or third dose ever, then you will not get the full protection against HPV. You will have some protection but less than is recommended.

Linda Asks:

I've had complete Cervarix shots while I was sexually active. Can I still get vaccinated with Gardasil to be protected against other types of HPV?

It is not recommended you get both vaccinations.

Meena Khanna Asks:

Hi there,
My daughter had her first HPV vaccine on 19th Nov 2009 and then the second vaccine on the 22nd Dec 2009. She will be getting the third vaccine on the 25th June. Will this still be effective. I would really appreicate your response.

As you’ve noted, the recommended schedule for the HPV or cervical cancer vaccines is at month 1 for the first dose, dose 2 about 2 months later and then dose 3 at 6 months after the first dose.  If there is some variation in this schedule, your daughter is still likely to get the full or nearly full protection afforded by the vaccine.  You are to be congratulated for making sure that she gets all 3 doses. Getting all 3 doses provides greater protection than merely getting one or two doses.  A small variation in the schedule happens frequently to all of us busy people.


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