Student pharmacists recommend Gardasil


Academy Of Student Pharmacists

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. It can affect both women and men who are sexually active. It is known to cause genital warts and cancers that affect the penis, vulva, anus, rectum and linings of the vagina and cervix.

Any kind of sexual activity that involves genital contact with an infected person can transmit HPV. General risk factors include having unprotected sexual or genital contact, having multiple sexual partners or a high-risk partner, starting sexual activity before age 18 or having an impaired immune system.

The difficulty in trying to avoid HPV is that many people who have HPV may not show any signs or symptoms, so they can pass the virus on without even knowing it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 20 million people in the United States already had HPV in 2005. About 74 percent of the six million new cases of genital HPV in the United States occur in people 15 to 24 years old.

The best method of prevention is to avoid genital contact and to practice abstinence. However, sexually active individuals can prevent the spread of HPV through a long-term, monogamous relationship if both partners are uninfected. For others who are not in a long-term relationship and remain sexually active, other methods of protection exist. An individual may reduce his or her risk of infection by choosing a low risk partner and by lowering the number of partners. Condoms may provide some protection against HPV, but the virus can still spread across exposed skin.

In June 2006, the Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil