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Health Service

Vassar College

To make an appointment call (845) 437-5800.

Facts About HPV (Human Papillomavirus)

  • Very common viral infection
    • Approximately 50% or more of young sexually active people will get HPV at some point in their lives
  • Most HPV infections don’t cause any symptoms and go away on their own
  • While there are over 100 types of the virus most of these are relatively harmless and the immune system will be activated to control the infection.
  • However, about 30 types can affect the genital area in the form of:
    • No symptoms (most common)
    • Genital warts
    • Cervical cancer
    • Vulvar cancer
    • Anal cancer

Detection (and Prevention) of HPV

  • Regular gynecological exams can pick up condylomata (genital warts) or abnormal Pap smears, although these changes can take months to years to show up
  • Long-term monogamous relationships and using condoms are believed to limit the risk of contracting HPV
  • HPV Vaccination*

*HPV Vaccine is currently only approved for use in women under the age of 26

What is the HPV Vaccination (Gardasil)?

  • HPV vaccine is an inactivated (not live) vaccine which will help prevent infection with the four major viral types that can cause cancer and genital warts, though it does not work against all types of HPV.
  • This vaccine is costly. Check with your health insurer for coverage information.
  • The vaccine is administered by 3 injections and requires three visits within six months.
  • The effects of HPV can be serious. 7,300 women suffer from cervical cancer in the U.S. every year and many more develop genital warts. Take care of yourself by going for regular gynecological exams and look into getting vaccinated, whether or not you are sexually active (this includes any genital contact, not just intercourse).

To make an appointment call (845) 437-5800.