“An ounce of prevention is worth many pounds of cure, and that is especially true regarding vaccinations against serious diseases.

The Gardasil vaccine has been available since 2002. It is a three shot series that provides immunity to nine strains of human pappiloma virus, seven that cause cervical cancer and two that cause genital warts.”

These shots are recommended for women and girls who have not yet had intercourse, or who have become sexually active, but have not already had HPV related disease. The vaccine has the most benefit for young girls in the 7th – 10th grades, long before they become sexually active.

It is estimated that the vaccine prevents 75-80% of cervical cancer, and virtually all of genital warts. The cost of the vaccine, roughly $200 per shot is paid by most insurance companies. Insurance companies recognize the tremendous benefit of this vaccine.

Studies have shown that girls who have been vaccinated are not more likely to engage in premature sex than those who have not been vaccinated. We take care in counseling young women having this vaccine to make sure they understand that it does not prevent all sexually transmitted disease. And we counsel them that having the vaccine does not mean they do not have to get pap smears at all.