HPV vaccine news

Published: August, 2007

Media coverage of the recently introduced human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine—including talk of state-mandated vaccination programs—has brought considerable attention, if not always clarity, to this issue. Although the vaccine represents a major medical breakthrough, there is reason to be cautious. The benefits and risks of the new HPV vaccine aren't fully known, reports the August 2007 issue of Harvard Women's Health Watch.

Gardasil, the new vaccine, has been shown to protect against four types of HPV that are sexually transmitted and thought to cause most cases of cervical cancer and genital warts. But it won't protect against the nearly one dozen other types of HPV associated with cervical cancer, and it won't protect against any type that a girl or young woman has encountered before vaccination. So women will still be at some risk even after they've been vaccinated, and they'll still need regular cervical cancer screening with Pap smear testing. Moreover, they will still need to take precautions against other sexually transmitted diseases.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »