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Thursday, May 23, 2024

HPV vaccine now at UW health services

A new vaccine used to stop an infection that causes genital warts became available Wednesday at University Health Services. UHS is one of few clinics in the Madison area that is distributing the vaccine.  


The vaccine, Gardasil is meant to provide protection against Human Pappillomavirus, a sexually transmitted infection that causes genital warts in women and men and cervical cancer in women. 


Gardasil was a politically charged issue last spring before being approved by the Food and Drug Administration in June. Some right-wing groups believed the vaccine would instill a false sense of safety during sexual relations and decried the notion of it being distributed to teens. 


""Four types of HPV are what they call high risk and high risk types are the ones that the vaccine has been designed to provide immunization for,"" said UW-Madison clinical instructor of cytology Lynn Sterud.  


The vaccine is given three times over a period of six months, through shots in the arm.  


""The cost per injection is $122,"" said Mary Landry, doctor of obstetrics and gynecology in the women's clinic at UHS. ""Most insurance companies are covering it.""  


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By scheduling an appointment, women nine-to-26 years old can be administered the vaccine in either the women's or immunization clinics at UHS.  


Although women are the only candidates for the vaccine, men can also get the sexually transmitted infection.  


""Women tend to be the ones who develop the lesions, the diseases, the warts and the cancers,"" Sterud said. ""Penal cancer, while it is heard of and has been found as a result of HPV, is not nearly as common as the cervical diseases that HPV causes."" 


Sterud also said there are more than 100 types of HPV and that more than 20 million Americans have HPV infections sometime in their life. The best protection against HPV is abstinence.  


""If you use condoms or a barrier type of birth control, it would be helpful, but really the only way to be sure that you're not going to get it is not to have multiple sex partners,"" Sterud said. 


Due to the likelihood of acquiring HPV, the best time to get the vaccine is before becoming sexually active.  


""However, if you are sexually active or if you've had a past history of HPV disease, which is genital warts or cervical dysphasia, you're still a candidate and it's still recommended by the Center for Disease Control,"" Landry said.

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