I decided to get vaccinated against human papillomavirus (HPV) with Gardasil. HPV causes genital warts, as well as cervical, anal, penile, and throat cancer. The vaccine covers four of the many strains of the virus – types 6, 11, 16 and 18 – including those that cause most genital warts and cancer cases.
Gardasil is normally prescribed to girls who are young enough that they are presumed to have had no sexual contact with others. Adults are assumed to have been exposed to HPV already. That is probably true in most cases. Still, there is a benefit in getting protection from the four most problematic strains, or at least any of the four that you have not already been exposed to. On that basis, doctors seem quite happy to prescribe the vaccine to adult women and men.
I got the first shot yesterday. There will be another in two months and a third in six months.
The vaccine is expensive, which is the main reason why it is not given to everybody. Still, it seems like a good investment. If enough people get vaccinated, one of the most prevalent sexually transmitted infections could be virtually eliminated and many cancer cases and deaths could be prevented.