Q: Who should receive the HPV Vaccine and why should they get it?
A: The HPV vaccine (Gardasil) is recommended for boys, girls, men, and women age 9 to 45. HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical & vaginal cancer, penile cancer, anal cancer, and cancers of the mouth and throat. It also causes genital warts. Data shows that the immune system has a better response when it is given at a younger age. Once a person is infected with HPV, they may remain infected with HPV long-term. While the HPV vaccine can help prevent infection, the vaccine does not cure an infection that is already present, so it is most beneficial to get the vaccine long before becoming sexually active. It is thus recommended to get the HPV vaccine at age 11-12 to provide maximum benefit.