A new study finds that the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil, is safe for patients, with the most common short term side effects being fainting the day the drug is administered or developing a skin infection shortly afterwards. The study, published in this month's Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, looked at almost 190,000, female Kaiser Permanente patients in California before determining the drug was safe.
The Los Angeles Times reports that according to researchers, these two side effects have been associated with vaccines before, and it's possible that they are not related to the actual drug but are merely a result of the stress people undergo when getting a shot.
HPV is the most commonly sexually transmitted disease and can lead to cervical cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, Gardasil can also help prevent genital warts as well as anal, vaginal and vulvar cancers.
The CDC recommends all women receive regular Pap smears to help detect any possibilities of cervical cancer, and says that women over 30 should get the HPV test as well.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the Gardasil vaccine protects against four different strains of HPV -- two of which account for about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases.
According to a recent report from the Los Angeles County Department of Health, a larger percentage of women in South L.A. are receiving Pap smears than the overall county rate, but more South L.A. women are still dying from cervical cancer.
Margarita Martires, a registered nurse with the Hudson Comprehensive Health Center, told OnCentral last year that there are a lot of reasons for the differences in statistics.
“A lot of it has to do with financial reasons, transportation, or fear… they’re fearful that they actually have something so they avoid it,” Martires said. “I have encountered a lot of that.”
According to the CDC's website; "Most sexually active people will get HPV at some time in their lives, though most will never even know it. " Dr. Amy Porter of Kaiser Permanente told OnCentral in August that even if the HPV vaccine isn't required for all students, parents should talk to their physicians and consider the immunization in order to best protect their child.
The CDC currently recommends the vaccine for all teen girls and women through age 26, and for teen boys as well as men through age 21.