Health Services: Gardasil Vaccine for Men
Any woman who has been for an annual GYN exam in the past couple of years has heard of Gardasil, but now the vaccine is available for men to prevent genital warts.
Gardisil is the vaccination that prevents infection with human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6, 11, 16, and 18 which cause approximately 70% of cervical cancer and 90% of genital warts.
Why should men consider Gardasil? Gardasil is approved for use in men aged 9 to 26 to prevent genital warts, believed to be caused by the HPV virus. Men who are protected against HPV are less likely to pass the infection to their sex partner(s). Gay men could benefit from Gardasil because the vaccine is shown to be 78% effective in preventing anal intraepithelial neoplasia, a precursor to anal cancer.
How much does the vaccine cost? The vaccine is available at Student Health Services at our cost of $145/dose. While some health insurances do not cover vaccines, many do, including the Haverford College Student Health Insurance. You may want to call your insurance company to find if this vaccine is covered. If you are interested in getting the vaccine please call Student Health Services to schedule an appointment.
Why should men be concerned about HPV? HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the U.S. and is spread by skin-to-skin contact and with vaginal or anal sex. Researchers believe that most sexually active people have HPV at some point in their lives. There is no treatment for HPV infection and most infections don’t cause any symptoms, but the conditions it causes can be treated. In men and women, HPV can cause genital warts that look like painless, fleshy skin growths. They may be small and hard to see. Women who are infected with some types of HPV are at increased risk for cervical cancer. Men and women who have receptive anal sex may be at increased risk for anal cancer associated with HPV.
Some facts for men and women about the Gardasil vaccine:
- Gardasil vaccine is given in three doses 2 and 6 months after the first dose and three doses are required for protection.
- Gardasil is not a substitute for regular exams by your health care provider.
- Gardasil helps prevent genital warts but will not treat them.
- Gardasil will not prevent the transmission of other sexually transmitted infections.
- Gardasil does not protect against HPV types not included in the vaccine.
- Gardasil will not protect against HPV types which you may have been exposed to previously.
- You may benefit from Gardasil if you already have HPV. This is because most people are not infected with all four types of HPV in the vaccine.
- The most common side effects of Gardasil are: pain, swelling, itching, and redness at the injection site, and fever.
You should always speak with your healthcare provider before trying the vaccine or any other drug. The staff at Student Health Services can answer your questions and make you aware of all the potential side effects before you make a decision to get the vaccine. You can also be screened and treated for other common sexually transmitted infections at Student Health Services. More information about HPV and other sexually transmitted infections is available online from the CDC.