What types of vaccinations exist?
As of today, there are two vaccines for the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) – Gardasil and Cervarix. The two vaccines are efficient at blocking HPV of types 16 and 18, which are the prime cancer-causing strains. Gardasil is also efficient against strains 6 and 11, which cause most types of warts associated with the virus.
The vaccines are given in three shots over a six month period.
Given that vaccines for HPV are relatively new, there is no definite information about the length of time that the vaccine continues to be effective. At this point, Cervarix has proven to be an effective vaccine for at least seven years and a half, while Gardasil is effective for at least five years.
The vaccine significantly lowers the risk of the different cancers caused by HPV, specifically cervical, but it is important to note that the vaccine is not against all strains of the Papilloma virus and not against cancer (which is not only caused by Papilloma infection).
The two vaccinations – Gardasil and Cervarix – will not be efficient if the patient is already infected with HPV, so it is recommended that girls receive the vaccination when they are young – before becoming sexually active. The different vaccinations are usually carried out by insurance companies (usually for a nominal fee).
Although the vaccine was originally intended for women, its efficiency in preventing HPV has caused Great Britain and the United States to make it available for men as well as women.