Harvard Health Letter

By the way, doctor: Should I get the cervical cancer vaccine?

Q. I am in a monogamous relationship and get Pap smears. Do I need to get the cervical cancer vaccine?

A. The human papilloma virus (HPV) causes cervical cancer and genital warts, and the vaccine against some types of the virus, called Gardasil, is recommended for girls and women ages 11 to 26. So if you are 26 or under, I'd say get the vaccine.

But over the age of 26, the vaccine is less likely to be protective against HPV because women tend to have a less vigorous antibody response to it. Moreover, HPV infections become increasingly less common with age. If you're past your mid-20s, you can take a pass.

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