Highland Travel Medicine

Gardasil (HPV)


 is the vaccine that protects against four strands of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is the cause of 70% of cervical cancers and 90% genital warts. Recent research implicates HPV as the primary cause of oral, throat, and rectal cancers. Gardasil does not guarantee full protection against all diseases caused by HPV, nor does it protect against disease not caused by HPV. However, it is now understood that some cancers are vaccine preventable and Gardasil is the most effective agent in preventing these cancers.

Most causes of HPV infection are caused by close skin to skin contact, oral, and sexual contact. There are several strands of HPV that may cause warts and cancers, but the four most common strands are covered within this vaccine.

The Gardasil vaccine is not a live vaccine; therefore, you will not get HPV from the vaccine. Side effects include swelling, redness and discomfort at the site. Both females and males may receive Gardasil. Anyone ages 9-26years old may receive the vaccine. The vaccine is a three dose series, starting at day 0, then 2 months, and 6 months later. Because the vaccine can help protect you from HPV infection, it is ideal that you receive the vaccine prior to exposure. If you have already been sexually active, you may still receive the vaccine. A discussion with your provider is warranted regarding the benefits of the vaccine for those with potential previous exposure. The Gardasil vaccine is not a substitution for the PAP smear test. The Pap smear test is still our most effective means of discovering cervical cancer early in its course. Guardasil is a highly effective means of preventing cervical cancer but does not replace yearly PAP smears.