Human papilloma virus (HPV) is an incurable—but treatable—virus that can cause a world of troubles for women and men.
In the summer of 2006, a vaccine that prevents HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 was created. The name of the vaccine is Gardasil. Many tests and improvements have been made on this drug, and it gives one a greater chance of not contracting the virus. There’s one biggie: The drug must be administered before having sex.
A couple years ago, I went to the Children’s Clinic for my yearly check-up. Later on into the visit, I was not a happy camper. I had blood drawn, sore fingers from the pricking, an influenza and chicken pox vaccination. As the doctor was reviewing my shot record, he noticed that the box for the HPV vaccine was blank. He explained to my mother and me the benefits of receiving the vaccine (even though I was not sexually active) and how it would be administered.
The vaccine is given in three dosages. Each time a dosage is given, you wait six months to get the next. The drug is dispersed through a needle in either the thigh or arm. The first shot I got, I felt a slight burning sensation and then stiffness in my thigh. With the second dosage, I felt no burning sensation and hardly any stiffness. With the last dosage, I felt no pain or stiffness. Each time the drug was given, the doctor asked me to lie down for 10 to 15 minutes, since fainting can be a side effect of the drug.
It is important to receive the HPV vaccine because it can not only prevent cervical cancer and/or genital warts but other life-threatening cancers as well. It’s better to take three shots now than take hundreds of
shots for life.