What Is Gardasil
Approved by the FDA in 2006, Gardasil is a vaccination that contains virus-like particles that mimic the actions of certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV). The particles are noninfectious and will not reproduce within the body so there is no chance that a person who is vaccinated with Gardasil will contract HPV, unlike vaccines that use live viruses. These particles help the body build antibodies to fight off possible HPV infections. It is administered in 3 doses of half a milliliter each over the course of 6 months.
The vaccine was originally designed to protect women from developing HPV, which is a leading cause of cervical cancer. It is intended for females between the ages of 11 and 26 who have never been infected with HPV. Gardasil will effectively prevent HPV types 6, 11, 16, and 18, all of which are transmitted sexually. Both males and females can contract HPV, which can lead to more serious conditions.
Preventing HPV also prevents genital warts associated from HPV and significantly reduces the chance of vulvar and vaginal cancers.This results in a lower chance of children contracting HPV in utero and reduces the risk of HPV related head and neck cancers as well. Gardasil is also approved for use in males between the ages of 9 and 26 to prevent HPV and reduce the risks of penile and anal cancers, among other complications.