Oakwood Womens Centre

Human Papillomavirus

Protect yourself from HPV

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. There are over 100 strains of the virus and 75-80% of sexually active men and women will be infected in their lifetimes. The statistics are staggering, but Dr. Mary Beth Harrison can help you protect yourself against one of the potentially life-threatening strains that can lead to cancer.

How is HPV spread?

HPV is spread through skin-to-skin genital contact, including vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who is infected.

What are the symptoms?

Not all HPV strains cause symptoms or health issues. In 90% of cases, the infection goes away on its own, yet some strains can persist and lead to genital warts or certain cancers.

What are the health risks of HPV?

Low-risk HPV 6 and 11 can cause genital warts, and high-risk HPV 16 and 18 can cause cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal and oropharyngeal cancers.

If you were not vaccinated at your pediatrician’s office, Dr. Harrison, a board certified obgyn with Oakwood Women’s Centre, can provide this life-saving series of vaccines to women under 26 years old.

A cancer vaccine? Yes, please.

Each year, approximately 17,600 women and 9,300 men are diagnosed with a type of cancer caused by HPV. In women, cervical cancer is the most common cancer caused by HPV, with 4,000 dying annually from the disease.

What can I do?

Three vaccines are FDA-approved to prevent HPV — Gardasil®, Gardasil-9® and Cervarix®. All three prevent HPV types 16 and 18, which cause approximately 70% of cervical cancer. Gardasil also prevents infection with HPV types 6 and 11, which cause 90% of genital warts. Gardasil-9 protects against an additional five high-risk types (31, 33, 45, 52, and 58), which cause about 19% of cervical cancers.

When should the vaccine be given?

The target age for vaccination is 11 or 12 for boys and girls, but the vaccine can be given to males through age 21 and to females through age 26. The vaccine is also recommended through age 26 for men and women with compromised immune systems.

Don’t delay. Get vaccinated.

For more information about HPV and to get vaccinated, contact our Round Rock ObGyns for a plan that brings peace of mind.