By Luis G. de Jesus, MD
In December 11, 2014, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Gardasil 9 for the prevention of cervical, vulvar, vaginal and anal diseases such as cancers and warts caused by nine types of Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Gardasil 9 covers five more HPV types (31, 33, 45, 52, and 58) than Gardasil which covers HPV types (16, 18, 6 and 11). It has the potential to prevent penile and oral cancers.
A randomized, controlled clinical study showed Gardasil 9 to be 97 percent effective in preventing cervical, vulvar and vaginal diseases caused by the five additional HPV types. In addition, Gardasil 9 is as effective as Gardasil for the prevention of diseases caused by the four HPV types based on similar antibody responses. Failure to prevent diseases by Gardasil 9 occurred in study participants who were already HPV-infected when they received their first vaccine dose. This underscores the importance of vaccinating before individuals are exposed (through sexual contact) to HPV.
The CDC recommends getting HPV vaccine for girls and boys starting at 11 or 12 years of age. Catch-up vaccination is recommended through 26 years of age.