Thanks to Michael Douglas human papilloma virus (HPV), and HPV prevention, has been a topic of conversation.

One great tool for prevention is the vaccine, which has the possibility to dramatically reduce (if not eliminate) infection with the major pathogenic types of HPV.

A question that I am often asked is, “Should I get the HPV vaccine if I’ve already had HPV?” The concern5-04 being, if you’ve already been infected (and thus have antibodies) how can the vaccine help? Having had HPV would be defined as a positive HPV DNA test, cervical dysplasia (pre-cancer or cancer), or genital warts.

To answer that question I turned to my good friend, and world-renowned HPV vaccine researcher, Dr. Kevin Ault. His answer:

“If someone is known to have an abnormal pap or genital warts,  it is unlikely they have been exposed to every HPV type in the quadrivalent HPV vaccine. So the recommendation is to give the vaccine.”

As a reminder, the vaccine is recommended for adolescents (both boys and girls). Giving the vaccine earlier in adolescence is recommended as the vaccine will be most protective before exposure to genital HPV strains (so age 11 or 12), but if it was missed women can be vaccinated up to the age of 26 and men up to the age of 21.

In addition, there is some (albeit limited, but definitely exciting) evidence to suggest that the HPV vaccine prevents recurrence of HPV related disease in women previously treated.

And consider these words of wisdom from Dr. Ault, “I think it is important not to over think the recommendations. Get vaccinated.  Most people have sex, most people who have sex are exposed to HPV.”

If you are in the right age group, get vaccinated. End of story.

Join the Conversation


  1. So while I realize that outside of the age range the vaccine won’t be covered by insurance. But what if you’re 33 and don’t have HPV, would it still be protective? I’m monogamous but have a better-safe-than-cervical-cancer feeling about it but I missed the age.

    1. From what I’ve read (in the process of researching the vaccine for myself) it’s a “can’t hurt, might help” situation. The vaccine isn’t licensed for people over 26 because it hasn’t been tested and shown to be protective for them. But if you’re happy to pay for it then getting the vaccine won’t hurt you, and it might still be protective for you. AFAIK – not a doctor or researcher of any kind.

  2. I was annoyed to learn from my PCP that because I was past the age range I couldn’t get it covered either… despite the fact that while I was in the age range I had only one sexual partner (I was married), but now divorced, I’m more likely to have exposure now in my 30s than in my 20s.

  3. Right, then you must believe all the drug ads and media which care little about our health. Just my opinion.

    1. Contrary to what your friends at AOA and TMR tell you, vaccines are a good thing. They do not cause autism, or Tourette Syndrome, or Sudden Infant/Child/Adult Death Syndromes, learning disabilities etc.

      Vaccination saves lives, vaccine preventable diseases kill and maim. I know that the ableist anti-vax squad believe that kids are better dead (of measles, or pertussis, or whatever) than disabled (through what you laughably still call “vaccine damage, despite all the evidence to the contrary), but out here in the real world it’s different.

      You see, outside your self-made prison built of conspiracy theories that hold medicine to be akin to genocide, where washed up Playboy models and disgraced former doctors are considered to be demi-gods, are considered the first and last word on what’s medically appropriate, people out here know that science and medicine are good for society. We realise that the best doctors are those who haven’t been banned from practicing, doctors who haven’t been stripped of their title, doctors who haven’t engineered fraudulent “research” by violating children. We trust those doctors, instead of liars, fraudsters, charlatans.

      Out here we know that nobody has been given any guarantees.
      No-one has the right to a perfect marriage, perfect health, the perfect child. We know that from the second you choose to conceive and bear a child, that you’re draped with the mantle of uncertainty.

      Miscarriage, stillbirth, congenital problems, accidents of birth, SIDS, childhood illnesses, car accidents, childhood cancers, etc. etc. Sh*t happens, and that includes you, and it includes autism which, by the way, begins in utero, not as a result of childhood immunisation. It’s genetic, it’s visible very early on, and guess what? It’s a damn sight better than cerebral palsy, Arthrogryposis, spina bifida, microcephaly, Cri du Chat, Charcot Marie Tooth, or you know… a dead baby.

      It’s developmental delay, not brain death. You can’t ever know or predict how any kid with an ASD will turn out. Someone who’s non-verbal, flapping and stimming and in nappies at age six, could be in mainstream classes at 15. It’s impossible to tell, but effort needs to be made, behavioural and educational programs, intense one-on-one work, figuring out how that particular child views, and interacts with the world, is what needs to be done.

      What won’t work, can’t work, is writing a child off as “damaged” or “lost”, cramming them full of dangerous supplements, subjecting them to degrading “treatments” with the belief that it will bring your “real” child back. Nor will wallowing in cess pools like AOA, or trying to convince the world that vaccinations are an evil plot by the Illuminati.

      Your real child is the one right in front of you, the one you gave birth to, not the perfect “real child” that exists only in your head. You only gel one chance to have them in your life, to help them be the best that they can be, so don’t waste that.

      ASDs are not fatal, not developmental death. Some of us were classic Kanner at age four, and employed and independent at 24, but it took work not wishes, social and medical help, not cruel fad diets or chelation.

      Love your child, they may not yet be able to express love back in the way a neurotypical kid their age can, but they know and understand a lot more than you think they do. And yes, that includes the fact that their primary caregiver resents them and considers them to be damaged goods.

  4. Why aren’t HPV vaccines recommended for people older than 26?
    Both vaccines were studied in thousands of people from 9 through 26 years old and found to be safe and effective for these ages. The vaccine is not licensed in the United States for persons over age 26 years, as GARDASIL has not been demonstrated to prevent HPV-related outcomes in a general population of women and men older than 26 years of age.

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