Martha Jefferson Monday: How Does the Gardasil Vaccine Work? - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Martha Jefferson Monday: How Does the Gardasil Vaccine Work?

The Gardasil vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006. It is one of two vaccines that works to prevent the human papillomavirus, often referred to as HPV.  

HPV is known to cause 99 percent of cervical cancers in women. Doctors say it also causes genital warts in both men and women, and has been linked to anal cancer. 

The Gardasil vaccine can be given to people as young as age nine. 

"It's targeted to a particularly wide range group," said Dr. Margo Gill, a physician at Forest Lakes Family Medicine. "Insurance will cover anyone from age nine to 26, male or female."  

Gardasil is given through a series of three shots and is similar to the vaccination process for Hepatitis B.  Although there are several different strains of HPV, Dr. Gill says Gardasil addresses the majority. 

"It's covering for the two most common causes of cervical cancer so it's covering 89-95 percent of cervical cancers and the two most common types of genital warts," noted Dr. Gill. 

In terms of timing, Dr. Gill says it's important to get vaccinated before becoming sexually active. 

"It will be more effective if people are getting it before they ever become sexually active and that's really the key because one in three to one in four people carry HPV and don't even know it."  

Once vaccinated, doctors believe Gardasil should provide life-long immunity. 

For more information on the Gardasil vaccine, call Martha Jefferson's Health Connection line at (434) 654-7009. 

If you have a health question you'd like us to answer, email healthquestions@nbc29.com

Do you have health questions? Starting June 4, get the answers every Monday morning from the experts at Martha Jefferson Hospital in our new feature: Martha Jefferson Monday.

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Submit your questions now! Just click this link and write your question in the email. Then tune in every Monday morning during NBC29 News at Sunrise for Martha Jefferson Monday brought to you by NBC29 and Martha Jefferson Hospital.

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