Let's All Avoid Genital Warts, Shall We?

The HPV vaccine hit the scene when I was in grad school so I never had to have the conversation with my doctor about whether or not I should get it.  If I look at the evidence we have now for how well it works at preventing HPV-associated butt/genital warts and cervical cancer and if I was not in a monogamous relationship, I would absolutely get myself vaccinated.   Gardasil and Gardasil 9 are approved for women up to 45 now, so I technically count!

This post isn't to tell you everything a person might need to know about the vaccine.  You should go to the CDC or the Canadian Cancer Society or the Society of Obstetrics & Gynecology for that stuff.

 I just want to make clear that doctors have to help their patients make these decisions but these same doctors also have to make these same decisions for themselves and their families.    There is no money to be made on vaccines for doctors.  There is no secondary gain.  We just don't like to see people die of preventable cancers.  We just want to save people from the special kind of hell that is having warts on the bum or genitals. 

The FUTURE I and II trials were the big ones that found a significant and sustained reduction in warts and low grade lesions of the cervix, vagina and vulva in women for Gardasil.  Then there were the Cervarix trials which also worked really well for the cervical cancer-causing strains.  They were funded by pharmaceutical companies.  That doesn't mean they're evil or wrong.   They're actually very high quality studies that I know I can trust.  The vaccine also helps with head and neck cancers caused by certain strains of the HPV virus.  Vaccinating boys with Gardasil is also good policy and science, and helps to prevent anal cancer.  And then in February the Gardasil 9 came out and has works well against even more strains of HPV

The vaccine is very well tolerated contrary to some irresponsible reporting from The Toronto Star.  There are minimal adverse events and even those have been over-reported. 

Getting vaccinated could be the right call for most of us.  Even if you're in your 30s or 40s.  Even if you're a dude, but under 26. Especially if you have a weakened immune system.  

Just putting it out there.