HPV Vaccine Sugar Land, TX

Frequent Asked Topics

What is HPV?

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus. Like all viruses, HPV causes infection by entering cells. Once inside a cell, HPV takes control of the cell’s internal machinery and uses it to make copies of itself. These copies then infect other nearby cells. HPV infection is a slow process. In most people, the immune system clears the body of HPV before it causes disease.

HPV infections can cause genital warts. HPV infections also can cause changes in cells that can lead to cancer over time, including cancer of the cervix.

How common is HPV?

HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States. Most people who have sex will get an HPV infection at some point in their lives.

How is genital HPV passed from person to person?

There are about 40 types of HPV that typically infect the genitals. These HPV types are spread by skin-to-skin contact during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. You can get a genital HPV infection even if you do not have sexual intercourse.

What are the symptoms of HPV infection?

HPV infection often has no signs or symptoms. People with HPV infection usually do not know they have it. This is one reason why HPV spreads easily.

What are genital warts?

Genital warts are growths that can appear on the outside or inside of the vagina or on the penis. Warts also can spread to nearby skin and can grow around the anus, on the vulva, or on the cervix. Warts may cause itching or pain, or they may not cause any symptoms.

What types of HPV cause genital warts?

Some types of HPV cause genital warts. These types are called “low-risk types” because they do not turn into cancer. Most cases of genital warts are caused by just two low-risk types of HPV: type 6 and type 11.

How are genital warts treated?

Warts can be removed with medication or surgery. Talk with Dr Nguyen about treatment. Wart removers found in the pharmacy should not be used on genital warts.

When can HPV infection cause cancer?

The immune system fights most HPV infections and clears them from the body, usually within 2 years. But sometimes HPV infections can last longer. A longer infection with a “high-risk” HPV type can turn into cancer. It usually takes years for this to happen.

What types of HPV infection cause cancer?

There are at least 13 types of HPV linked to cancer of the cervix, anus, vagina, penis, mouth, and throat. Most cases of HPV-related cancer are caused by just two high-risk types of HPV: type 16 and type 18.

How long does it take cervical cancer to develop?

It can take 3 to 7 years for certain changes in the cells on the cervix to become cancer. The purpose of cervical cancer screening is to detect these changes while they are still easily treated.

Women with “high-grade” changes can get treatment to have the cells removed from the cervix. Women with “low-grade” changes can be tested over time to see if the cells go back to normal.

How can you protect against HPV infection in Sugarland?

One way to protect against HPV infection is by getting the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is safe and effective and protects against the HPV types that are the most common cause of genital warts and cancer.

Millions of people around the world have gotten the HPV vaccine without serious side effects. The vaccine does not contain live viruses, so it cannot cause an HPV infection.

When should people get the HPV vaccination in Sugar Land?

Vaccination works best when it is done before a person is sexually active and exposed to HPV. But vaccination can still reduce the risk of getting HPV for people who have already been sexually active.

The ideal age for HPV vaccination of girls and boys is 11 or 12, but it can be given starting at age 9 and through age 26.

How is the HPV vaccine given?

The HPV vaccine is given as a series of shots:

  • For those aged 9 to 14, two shots of vaccine are recommended. The second shot should be given 6 to 12 months after the first one.
  • For those aged 15 through 26, three shots of vaccine are recommended. The second shot should be given 1 to 2 months after the first one. The third shot should be given 6 months after the first shot.

What if I am older than 26 and want the HPV vaccine?

If you are older than 26, have not been vaccinated, and are at risk of a new HPV infection, you should talk to Dr. Nguyen about whether you need the HPV vaccine. The vaccine is approved for people through age 45.

What happens if I miss a shot?

If you have not had all of the shots, you do not have to start over. You can resume your shot as needed.

What are the side effects of the HPV vaccine?

The most common side effect of the HPV vaccine is soreness and redness where the shot is given. There have been no reports of severe side effects or bad reactions to the vaccine.

Is the HPV vaccine effective?

The HPV vaccine is highly effective when given before a person has sex. The vaccine can reduce the risk of HPV-related genital warts and cancer by up to 99 percent when all recommended shots have been given.

Can I get the HPV vaccine if I already had sex?

Yes. If you have had sex, you may already be infected with one or more types of HPV. But the vaccine may still protect you against HPV types you do not have yet.

Do I still need cervical cancer screening if I have had the HPV vaccine?

HPV vaccination helps prevent HPV infection, but it is not a cure for an HPV infection you already have. Women who have been vaccinated still need to have regular cervical cancer screening.

What does cervical cancer screening involve?

Cervical cancer screening includes the Pap test, an HPV test, or both. Both tests use cells taken from the cervix.

  • Pap test—This test can detect abnormal changes in cells of the cervix. If testing shows cell changes that could lead to cancer, treatment can be given before cancer develops.
  • HPV test—This test can identify most of the cancer-causing types of HPV even before there are visible changes in the cervical cells.

You should start having screening at age 21, regardless of when you first start having sex.

In addition to the HPV vaccine, how else can I protect myself against HPV infection?

Although the HPV vaccine protects against the most common causes of genital warts and cancer, it does not protect against all HPV types. If you are sexually active, using a condom or dental dam every time you have vaginal, anal, or oral sex can help reduce the risk of HPV infection. Look for condoms and dental dams made of latex or polyurethane.

Take charge of your health today! Protect yourself against HPV and its related cancers with the HPV vaccine at Sugar Land Advanced OB/GYN Center. Don’t wait – call us now at (281) 322-2222 to schedule your vaccination appointment. Your well-being matters, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. Act now to safeguard your future!