Women Who Had The HPV Vaccine, May Benefit From Getting A Shot Of The Newest Vaccine, Says New Study

Although you may think that you’re safe from HPV because you got the original vaccine, Gardasil, a new study says that you’re actually not completely in the clear after all. In fact, if women really want to protect themselves they should get the more recently approved Gardasil 9 vaccine that will prevent against nine strains of HPV, instead of just the four that the original vaccine protects against. There are roughly 200 different strains of HPV, but only 40 of them can be spread through sexual contact, possibly resulting in cancer or genital warts.

But while only a minority of the strains cause problems, the ones that do can be deadly. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer, killing almost 4,000 women a year, according to the American Cancer Society.

The new study found that although only 11 percent of women who were vaccinated with Gadasil were infected by the HPV it was meant to protect against compared to the 20 percent of women who never received the vaccine, it was those who had been vaccinated who were more likely to be infected by higher-risk (cancer causing) strains of HPV. Basically, in protecting against just four strains, the vaccinated women were more susceptible to more damaging HPV strains. Despite this being the findings, scientists have yet to be able to figure out why this is the case.

The latest vaccine, Gardasil 9, which was approved in December, not only protects against the original four, but five additional strains of HPV. Although women who received the original vaccine can get the newer one, those who will benefit the most is the younger group who have not had the vaccine yet.

Takeaway? HPV is still a real threat to women, even if they have received the vaccination.

As the deputy director and chairman of the department of gynecologic oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Dr. Kunle Odunsi writes in the study this just “highlights the need to continue to pursue additional strategies to control HPV infection.” I would have to agree. If the vaccination actually makes women even more prone to other strains, there’s definitely a lot to be learned.

While scientists are hard at work on that, what we can do for ourselves is always use a condom and realize that just because we have the vaccine doesn’t mean we’re totally safe. Nothing is a 100 percent. No.Thing.

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