HPV Vaccination Now Available For Coloradans Over 26
More Coloradans can now protect themselves against the human papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted disease.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently expanded the use of an HPV vaccine, called Gardasil 9, to men and women ages 9 to 45. The drug, which is a vaccination for HPV, was not given to people over 26 in the past.
About one in four people is currently infected in the U.S., but the virus usually goes away on its own.
About half of Coloradans get the vaccination as teens, according to Sara Wettergreen, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado's Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.. The new Gardasil 9 regulation will now help protect them as adults.
"If someone is exposed in the future they should have a lower risk of acquiring that virus," Wettergreen said. "Then ultimately helping to prevent against any cancers associated with that virus."
There are many different types of HPV. Gardasil 9 protects against both low risk, which can lead to genital warts, and high-risk types, which have been linked to a number of cancers worldwide, including cervical cancer.
Cervical cancer is the fastest growing type of cancer in Colorado.
"By increasing vaccination rates, we can ultimately prevent cervical cancer rates from even being a public health issue in the future," Wettergreen said.
Gardasil 9 should be available to people over 26 in the next couple of months when insurance companies start covering the vaccination.