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Is it True that there is an HPV Vaccine?

I heard that there is an HPV vaccine that cures HPV. Is this true?

~ Want to be HPV Free

Dear Want to be HPV Free,

To date there is still no cure for people who have HPV. However, in June 2006, an HPV vaccine was approved by the FDC and recommended by the CDC, which when given to young girls before they are sexually active, prevents four different types of HPV (types 6, 11, 16 and 18).

The HPV vaccine is called Gardasil and is created by Merck. According to the makers:

"Gardasil is for girls and women ages 9 to 26. Gardasil works when given before you have any contact with HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18."

The treatment is given in three doses and costs $120 per dose. Some insurance companies cover it as does "Vaccines for Children."

At least 50% of sexually active people will get HPV at some point of their lives. It's hoped that this new vaccine will prevent the spread of four types of HPV. More vaccine research is being conducted now in order to attack more types of HPV in women.

According to the CDC:

"Studies have found the vaccine to be almost 100% effective in preventing diseases caused by the four HPV types covered by the vaccine– including precancers of the cervix, vulva and vagina, and genital warts. The vaccine has mainly been studied in young women who had not been exposed to any of the four HPV types in the vaccine.

The vaccine was less effective in young women who had already been exposed to one of the HPV types covered by the vaccine. This vaccine does not treat existing HPV infections, genital warts, precancers or cancers."

So to answer your question: there is no cure for HPV or any cure on the immediate horizon. However, research into vaccines is very promising with one effective vaccine out now and more in the works to address the different types of HPV.

If you have a question for the STD Advice column, simply put your question in the anonymous form below and click Submit. Once you click Submit, your question will be anonymously emailed to us. While we can't answer or publish all questions, we do try to questions within a one week period of submission. Check back to see if yours is answered.

Only a physician can properly diagnose whether or not you have an STD. Thus it is important that you get an STD test done if you have a concern. None of the advice given in this column is a substitute for physician advice.

If you think you may have a sexually transmitted disease, you should see a physician immediately to be properly diagnosed and treated. You should not try to diagnose or treat symptoms on your own.

Getting Help for an STD >

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