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9 Things You Must Know About the Gardasil Vaccine by Tiffani Beekman

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A vaccine is described as a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease. Gardasil is a vaccine administered today for preventative measures in transmitting a sexually transmitted disease known as Human Papillomavirus.

1. Gardasil is the brand name of the vaccine that is used to prevent anal, cervical, vulvar, and vaginal cancer caused by Human Papillomavirus, (HPV) types 16 and 18 and genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11. This vaccine is also used to prevent lesions that are caused by these viruses. This vaccine also has a generic name; Recombinant Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent vaccine.

2. Gardasil is strictly meant for preventative methods. The most effective use of this vaccine is to have it administered before becoming sexually active for the first time. The Human Papillomavirus that Gardasil is used to help prevent, can be contracted after having sex only one time and or with only one partner. Therefore to effectively protect against this virus one should have the 3 series vaccine before becoming sexually active.

3. Gardasil can be given to both males and females. The most common age to begin this vaccine is age 11 or 12, which is usually the age near puberty. Though, girls and boys can begin to get this vaccine at the young age of 9.  Response to the vaccine is noted to be better at a younger age than a person who is older. The recommended ages to get vaccinated for boys and young men are between ages 9 and 26. The same ages of between 9 and 26 are recommended for girls and young women.

4. In girls and young women the Gardasil vaccine helps prevent contracting two types of HPV that cause about 75% of cervical cancer. The vaccine also protects against two more types that cause 90% of genital warts cases in girls and young women.

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5. In boys and young men Gardasil helps protect against approximately 90% of genital warts cases. Also it aids in prevention of anal cancer associated with HPV in boys and young men.

6.  The Gardasil vaccine contains purified inactive proteins from the HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18. These proteins are structural virus-like proteins that resemble the HPV virus. This vaccine is administered by professionals intramuscularly and is given as three injections over a period of 6 months. The first shot is given at puberty or when deciding to become sexually active. The second shot is given 2 months after the first injection and the third one is given 4 months after the second injection.

7. How does the vaccine work? The Gardasil vaccine works by stimulating immune response to attack HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18. The body will recognize the viral proteins as foreign and develop antibodies against them.

8. Gardasil will not protect against diseases caused by other types of HPV or other types of diseases not caused by HPV. Also it does not prevent all types of cervical cancer or treat cancer and genital warts.

9. Side effects of the vaccine Gardasil are pain, swelling, itching, bruising and redness at the site of injection. Headache, fever, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, fainting and swollen glands are possible side effects as well.

The vaccine Gardasil was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in the year 2007. The manufacturer of the drug is Merck and Co. Inc. This vaccine is intended as a preventative drug for males and females who will be sexually active. The vaccine can be given to an individual after having sexual intercourse although it lowers the effectiveness tremendously. Some of the diseases that Gardasil prevents against can lay dormant in the human body for long periods of time. So getting the vaccine after contracting the HPV virus will not treat any diseases. On the other hand even after becoming sexually active, if one does not contract the sexually transmitted disease that Gardasil protects against, getting the vaccine will be very effective. Hope is still there for those young adults who are currently sexually active; to get vaccinated and prevent future sexually transmitted disease caused by the HPV virus.



            FDA US Food and Drug Administration 11/13/2013. Gardasil. Retrieved December 8, 2013 from           www.fda.gov.

Gardasil.com (n.d.). When it comes to Gardasil girls are only half the story. Retrieved December 8, 2013 from www.Gardasil.com.

Medicine.net (n.d.) Gardasil (HPV vaccine). Retrieved December 6, 2013 from www.Medicine.net.

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