1. Amanda says:

    I’m all for people of all ages and genders getting the HPV vaccine, but there are some inaccuracies in this post.

    As long as you don’t already have HPV (something they test for before giving you the shot) you can get vaccinated.

    This is incorrect. HPV testing is not required or recommended for people of either gender receiving the HPV vaccine. There is no HPV test for men, and HPV testing for women is only recommended for women over 30 or as a followup to an abnormal pap test. The HPV test is a vaginal swab. People are most definitely not routinely tested for HPV before receiving the vaccine.

    However, the shot is approved for you…you at whatever age you are reading this.

    Presumably most people who identify as quarter-lifers are within the age range for the vaccine, but it is only approved for ages 9-26.

    • Mari (via phone) says:

      I appreciate your concern with mine for people to get vaccinated but let me clarify some of your points. Before giving you the vaccine, the clinic has to know if you are free from the virus. This means that they may require you to go get tested if you haven’t already been tested. The Planned Parenthood where I arranged my shot sent me to the health department where they required the results of my HPV screening before concenting to administer the shot. While I requested to have my screening was done as part of a regular pap, there are DNA tests that can be used in both women and men. You’re correct in that there isn’t an easy HPV test for men, but the DNA test can and has been used for high risk male populations.

      You’re also correct in that the shot is approved for 9-27 (the age range was just expanded in the last year, according to Planned Parenthood). However, that approval is based on the liklihood that as you age and become more sexually active that you have already contracted HPV. Many clinics will still administer the shot if you are outside the age range but negative. They simply cannot guarantee its effectiveness and it won’t be covered by insurance (but isn’t covered in many cases to begin with).

  2. Amanda says:

    I can’t dispute your personal experience, but I can assure you that it is not normal to be required to get an HPV test before getting the vaccine. I can’t imagine most nine-year old girls (or their parents!) would consent to vaginal swabs for HPV testing before getting the vaccine in school! The clinic absolutely does not need to know that you are free of the virus: the vaccine will not harm you if you already have HPV, it simply will not work on strains you have already been exposed to. Furthermore, the HPV DNA test would not really work to determine if the vaccine would be effective, since it does not tell you that you have never been exposed to a particular strain of HPV, since most people will eventually clear the virus and test negative. I’ve been a test subject for the HPV DNA test myself as part of clinical research, and the actual wording on my results was “At present, there are no FDA approved tests for determining the type(s) of HPV that is present in a patient sample[…]Your HPV test results were negative for HPV DNA. This means that we found no evidence of HPV infection in your vaginal samples. This does not mean that you will never acquire the infection in the future or that you have never acquired it in the past.”

    Here is a link from the CDC that reiterates that people do not need screening before being vaccinated:

    http://www.cdc.gov/std/Hpv/hpv-vaccine.pdf

    “Should girls/women be screened before getting vaccinated?

    No. Girls/women do not need to get an HPV test or pap test to find out if they should get the vaccine. An HPV test or pap test can tell that a woman may have HPV, but these tests cannot tell the specific HPV type(s) that a woman has. Even girls/women with one HPV type could get protection from the other vaccine HPV types they have not yet acquired.”

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