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Human Papillomavirus Vaccine

What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

Prior to getting the human papillomavirus vaccine, you should tell your healthcare provider if you have:
  • A fever or are feeling ill
  • A bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia or thrombocytopenia
  • A poorly functioning immune system (such as with HIV, AIDS, or cancer)
  • Any allergies, including allergies to foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Taking anticoagulants ("blood thinners")
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see HPV Vaccine and Pregnancy)
  • Breastfeeding.
Also, tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Warnings and Precautions With the HPV Vaccine for more information on this topic, including information on who should not get vaccinated.)

How Does the Human Papillomavirus Vaccine Work?

The human papillomavirus vaccine is a vaccine that protects against certain types of human papillomavirus infections. It works by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies to fight off the human papillomavirus virus. Human papillomavirus is a virus that can be sexually transmitted. This virus can cause female genital warts, male genital warts, cervical cancer, and various precancerous genital growths.
There are many different types of human papillomavirus, and the human papillomavirus vaccine does not protect against all of them. However, the vaccine does protect against a few important human papillomavirus types. Both Gardasil and Cervarix protect against types 16 and 18 (the types responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancers), and Gardasil also protects against types 6 and 11 (which are responsible for about 90 percent of genital wart cases).
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