Q&A with Dr. Adriana Lopez

We know you have questions about HPV and Gardasil. See what Dr.Lopez had to say in response to some of your most common questions. To watch her in action, follow us on Instagram and check out her HPV/Gardasil story.

What is HPV?

This is a really common infection that can have effect men and women, which long term can increase the risk for cervical cancers, vaginal cancers, anal cancers, as well certain head and neck cancers. It is actually estimated that most people will have HPV infection at some point in their life. At this given time, about 80 million people in America would have this infection.

What type of issues does HPV cause?

Most HPV does not cause any symptoms or problems. About 9 out of 10 infections, people will clear on their own within a couple of years. But for some people, men and women, this infection can lead to increased risk for cancer.

What is the Gardasil vaccine?

It is an immunization designed to help protect men and women against certain types of cervical cancer, anal, vaginal, penile, as well as head and neck cancers that can be caused by HPV.

Who should get the Gardasil vaccine?

The Gardasil vaccine is actually recommended for girls and boys as young as 9, to women and men age 45.

How many doses do I need?

People less than age 15 would need two doses, and those older than 15 would need three doses. If you had to interrupt your schedule for some reason, it’s actually recommended that we just start back up where we left off.

Can you get the Gardasil vaccine while pregnant?

At this given time, it’s not approved for use in pregnancy. Patient must wait until after pregnancy to give you this vaccination.

How well does the Gardasil vaccine work?

It works extremely well.

Since its recommendation in 2006, we’ve actually seen about a 64% decrease in genital warts and precancerous cells diagnosed in teenage girls in the United States.

What are the side effects of HPV vaccine?

Like any vaccine, there can be injection site reactions that can cause pain, swelling, redness, maybe some muscle or joint pain at the site of administration. Usually really mild and self-limited if people have reactions at all.

Can you get HPV from HPV vaccine?

Can you get HPV from the HPV vaccine? And the answer to that is no. This vaccination is made from the proteins of the virus and not the actual virus itself. It would be impossible to contract HPV from the vaccination.

Do I still need a pap smear if I’ve had the HPV vaccine?

The answer is yes. There are so many different strains of HPV. Gardasil protects against the high risk at 9, as well as the strains that cause genital warts. You still need your routine cervical cancer screening with your OB/GYN.

As always talk with your MacArthur OBGYN doctor if you have any questions.