Published: | Updated: 03.10.09
Gardasil, the HPV vaccine manufactured by Merck & Co., Inc, is a breakthrough in the fight against cervical cancer. Cervical cancer is caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). Each year cervical cancer is diagnosed in about 10,000 American women, of who 3,900 die from the disease. This makes cervical cancer the second most common form of cancer among women worldwide.
Gardasil provides protection against the diseases caused by HPV, targeting HPV types 16 and 18, which are responsible for 70 percent of all cervical cancers and HPV types six and 11, which are responsible for 90 percent of genital warts. HPV is spread through sexual intercourse or sexual contact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 20 million Americans are currently infected with HPV, and another 6.2 million people become newly infected each year. At least 50 percent of sexually active men and women acquire genital HPV infection at some point in their lives.
PPRM began administering the vaccine in 2007 at select health centers.
“By expanding the Gardasil vaccine to all our health centers, patients can be confident they are receiving complete and accurate health care information and services when they walk into any one of our centers,” said PPRM President and CEO Vicki Cowart.
The vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for women ages nine to 26 and is recommended as a routine vaccination for girls ages 11 to 12, before the onset of sexual activity. Catch-up vaccination is recommended in females ages 13 to 26 who have not previously been vaccinated or who have not completed the full series. The HPV vaccine does not protect against types of HPV to which the patient has previously been exposed, or to HPV types not contained in the vaccine. The vaccine requires three injections over a six-month period.
“The ability to offer the HPV vaccine to the people
PPRM offers free vaccinations through Merck’s Patient Assistance Program to patients without health care insurance and who meet other qualifications. Planned Parenthood welcomes anyone interested in this program to contact its staff to learn if they qualify. Planned Parenthood accepts insurance from private health plans, although coverage for Gardasil varies.
Adverse reactions include headache and pain, swelling and redness at the injection site. Severe adverse reactions are uncommon. PPRM encourages all girls and women or parents considering the vaccine for their daughters to contact us and learn more about the vaccine. Call 1-800-230-PLAN or visit pprm.org for the health center nearest you.
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