The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly recommends the HPV vaccine. It recommends vaccination of preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. HPV vaccine also produces a higher immune response in preteens than in older adolescents. The two vaccines that are discussed on this page have been approved by the FDA for the prevention of HPV infections.
Approved in 2006, this vaccine contains HPV types 6,11,16 and 18. It is used for the prevention of cervical, anal, vulvar, and vaginal cancer, as well as precancerous lesions in these tissues. It also can prevent genital warts caused by HPV infection. Gardasil is highly effective in preventing infections caused by HPV type 16 and 18 as well as HPV types 6 and 11. Gardasil vaccination is recommended for boys and girls 11 and 12 years old.
Approved in 2009, this vaccine is used for the prevention of cervical cancer and precancerous cervical lesions caused by HPV infection. Cervarix HPV vaccine contains only two HPV types, 16 and 18. Infection with either of these types is responsible for the majority of cervical carcinoma. It is approved for vaccination of women and girls ages 10-25 years It is highly effective in preventing infections with HPV types 16 and 18. It has not been approved for prevention of penile or oropharyngeal cancers.
Gardasil and Cervarix are both recombinant vaccines, administered in a set of three doses. Once vaccinated, regular cervical screening is required to detect infections and abnormal cytology from HPV types not contained in vaccines.