The Gardasil vaccine protects against the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. – so why are so many people resisting it?
Gardasil is a vaccine that immunizes women as well as men against human papilloma virus (HPV). The vaccine is recommended for ages 16-18 but can be given as early as age 11 up until age 26. It is given to patients in three stages over six months – one injection per appointment. Even if you are not yet sexually active, the vaccine is still recommend as it can protect against HPV in the future.
So if Gardasil comes so highly recommended, then why are parents resistant to scheduling an appointment for their child to receive the vaccine? Many studies point to simple misconceptions about Gardasil. Parents are under the impression that the vaccine is somehow dangerous, or that it can have harmful long-term health effects, but this is not true.
Unfortunately, these Gardasil myths leave many teenagers unprotected against HPV, which is so easily transmitted through genital contact from person to person that even use of a condom cannot fully protect against it. In order to help promote awareness and education about the HPV vaccine, PGOMG offers you a list below of some of the most common Gardasil misconceptions.
Myth: Only women need the HPV vaccine.
Fact: Men are able to contract HPV just as easily as women. Both men and women should have the HPV vaccine.
Myth: Receiving the vaccine encourages sexual activity.
Fact: No correlation has been found between the Gardasil vaccine and increased sexual activity. The vaccine simply protects against HPV. It does not replace the need for condoms to protect against STDs or additional contraception to prevent pregnancy.
Myth: The vaccine will give you HPV.
Fact: The Gardasil vaccine protects against HPV. It does not infect you with the infection. The vaccine also does not cause cancer.
Myth: “I only have one sexual partner, so I don’t need the vaccine.”
Fact: Having only one sexual partner does not mean you are protected against HPV. You can get HPV from one sexual encounter.
Myth: “I’m on the pill and we use condoms, so I don’t need the vaccine.”
Fact: Condoms can protect against other STDs, but HPV is contracted during skin-to-skin contact, and a condom will not cover the entire genital area, which puts a person at risk.