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What You Need to Know About the HPV Vaccine

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We've all heard about Gardasil, the vaccine for HPV which can prevent cervical cancer, but what is it and who should we get it. We've got your HPV Vaccine 101.


CNN's medical new correspondent Elizabeth Cohen breaks it down. HPV (genital human papillomavirus) is the most common sexually transmitted disease. According to the CDC, roughly 20 million Americans have the virus. The major reason to be concerned about HPV is that it is the major cause of cervical cancer, which kills about 250,000 women worldwide each year. Gardasil, the HPV vaccine, protects against four strains of HPV, including two connected to most cervical cancer.

In 2006, the FDA has approved the vaccine for use in girls ages 9 to 26. Doctors suggest the vaccine be given to young girls, preferably before they have sex -- a prescription that has not been without some controversy.

Many women have questioned whether if they get the get the vaccine if they still need to get regular Pap smears. As Gardasil only covers the strains that cause 70% of cervical cancer, there's still that remaining 30% so Pap smears are still vitally important.

As for boys and young men getting the vaccine, Cohen says testing is still underway, but the results are promising. The hope is that by vaccinating men, they won't be able to pass on the virus to women, even further reducing the risk.

What do you think about Gardasil?

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35 comments so far | Post a comment now
HPV vaccine Book January 20, 2009, 4:11 PM

FYI- There is a new book on the HPV Vaccine Controversy: Sex, Cancer, God and Politics written by Shobha S. Krishan,M.D from Barnard College, Columbia University, New York. It is written without the influence of any pharmaceutical companies or special interest group. Click on the following link for details:

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Informed July 13, 2009, 10:52 PM

Gardasil contains lead,mercury,arsenic,aluminum,salts and it is all going into the girls brain. Please do not get brain washed by merck. They are excellent marketers but they are poisoning your children.
Every ingredient plays a deadly role
in the vaccine and enhane the toxicity of the others.Merck mislead the public again. Remember Vioxx,do not trust these liars.

Mary November 11, 2009, 5:53 PM

We can recall peanut butter with fewer illnesses…a mass national recall. But a pharmaceutical company who puts far worse things in their vaccines can kill or injure hundreds..thousands possibly without a flinch. No recall and no admittance that their trauma was related to the vaccine. Pathetic, completely pathetic.

And for those of you that did take the vaccine without harm….consider yourself lucky. You dodged a bullet.

For those of you that claim that those of us who choose not to vaccinate our child (with Gardasil) are blind or ignorant…YOU are the ones that need to do your homework. It seems that we never research things unless there is a reason to. The pharmaceutical companies want the best for us? No No No…they want money. Haven’t we learned that this is what makes the world go around? Stop being so trustworthy with that life you brought into this world and research what these companies are pumping into our kids.

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