June 11, 2008

Gardasil: Not Just for Pre-Teens

During my visit to the women's clinic a few months back, I asked the Nurse Practitioner about Gardasil, the vaccine that claims to protect girls against cancer-causing types of HPV.  She thought it probably wasn't as miraculous as it appeared to be, considering there are about 100 strains of HPV, but it does prevent infection from the two major cancer-causing strains HPV-16 and HPV-18.  

Then she told me something I found very exciting: women up to the age of 26 can receive the vaccine.  I just happened to be 25.  Fantastic!  I did some research and called my doctor to arrange for my first injection.  You have to receive a series of 3 shots over the course of 6 months.  I just had my second shot two days ago.  

In my web research, I also learned that Gardasil also protects against the two strains of HPV that cause genital warts.  At this point, it's unclear how long the vaccine is effective.  Some reports claim at least 4 years, others claim only 2.  It will take time to get a survey of the efficacy over time.  I personally hope it's forever.  

I'm currently in a committed, long-term relationship, but I jumped at the chance to get additional protection.  You never know when your relationship will go south and you never know, for sure, where someone else has been.  

I consider myself very fortunate to not have to worry about STDs at this time in my life.  We have both been thoroughly checked and, thankfully, we are both clean.  I have chosen to only use the pill as my form of contraceptive.  

All condoms cause me a great deal of added pain and burning.  I've try latex, polyurethane, and even natural condoms made from sheep intestines.  Those are disgusting!  They smell like formaldehyde.  It was like bestiality and necrophellia all at once!  As soon as I opened it and the smell hit me, that thing went right in the trash.  I will never touch lamb skin condoms again.       

But, I digress.  The point is, if you're under the age of 26, you should do some research on Gardasil and see if the vaccine is right for you.  I think you can never be too safe from STDs.  

If you ask me, my squirrel's nest has more than enough problems without cancer and warts.  

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