It’s a good idea to get vaccinated with an HPV vaccine (Gardasil or Cervarix) before you have a chance to actually get infected with HPV.
The HPV vaccine can’t protect you if you haven’t had it yet.
What Happens If You Get Gardasil and Already Have HPV?
It is still a good idea to get vaccinated with Gardasil (or Cervarix) if you have already been sexually active though, even if you know that you have an HPV infection already.
“Even if a patient previously has had an abnormal Pap test or history of genital warts, vaccination is still recommended.”ACOG on Human Papillomavirus Vaccination
“…few sexually active young women are infected with all HPV types prevented by the vaccines, so most young women could still get protection by getting vaccinated.”Will sexually active females benefit from the HPV vaccine?
Because these vaccines protect against you against multiple strains of HPV!
“The prevalence of abnormal cytology was lower in vaccinated versus unvaccinated women, despite receipt of vaccination after sexual debut. Continued assessment of HPV vaccine effectiveness before and after sexual debut on HPV infection and cervical dysplasia is needed.”Brogly et al on Human Papillomavirus Vaccination and Cervical Cytology in Young Minority Women
Still, it is better to get vaccinated and protected when your kids are younger, before they are sexually active and before they are ever exposed to HPV.
Studies have also shown that preteens have the best immune response to the HPV vaccines, so not only is there no benefit to waiting, these vaccines likely work better when you give them on time.
On the other hand, if your kids aren’t already vaccinated and protected, even if they are already sexually active, whether or not they have HPV already, they should still get the HPV vaccine, especially as it is recommended that they routinely be given through age 26 years and they are now approved to be given to adults through age 45 years!
Will you get cervical cancer if you have HPV and get an HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccines are preventative, not therapeutic vaccines, so they don’t treat any HPV infections that you already have. While the HPV vaccine you get if you already have an HPV infection is not going to increase your risk of developing cervical cancer from that infection, it isn’t going to cure you either.
Again, that’s why you ideally want to get vaccinated before you are ever exposed to HPV. Anyway, you should continue to have Pap tests, because the HPV vaccines don’t cover every HPV strain.
But no, HPV vaccines don’t increase the risk of developing cervical cancer for anyone exposed to HPV before they were vaccinated.
That’s an anti-vaccine myth.
More on Gardasil and HPV Carriers
- VAXOPEDIA – I’m Not Anti-Vaccine, I Just Don’t Believe in the HPV Vaccine
- VAXOPEDIA – Did the FDA Approve a New HPV Vaccine for Adults?
- VAXOPEDIA – Is the HPV Vaccine a Savior or the Most Dangerous Vaccine Ever Made?
- VAXOPEDIA – About Those HPV Vaccine Trials in Infants…
- VAXOPEDIA – HPV Vaccine Myths
- VAXOPEDIA – Did Utah Ban the HPV Vaccine?
- VAXOPEDIA – Should You Get an Extra Dose of Gardasil9?
- Ask the Experts about HPV
- Some people say that getting the vaccine if you already have HPV increases your chance of cancer!
- Already Had Sex? The HPV Vaccine Still Has Value
- Can Getting the HPV Vaccine Help If I Already Have Genital Warts?
- ACOG – Human Papillomavirus Vaccination
- Gardasil facts – debunking myths about HPV vaccine safety and efficacy
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) ACIP Vaccine Recommendations
- FDA – Gardasil 9
- HPV vaccine prevents cervical cancer – a systematic review
- CDC – Will sexually active females benefit from the HPV vaccine?
- Frequently asked questions about HPV vaccines
- Who Should Get the HPV Vaccination and Why
- Should I get the HPV vaccine?
- How safe is the HPV vaccine? New data available.
- HPV vaccine over age 26 – is it worth it?
- The importance of the HPV vaccine in one graphic. Really.
- History of the HPV Vaccines
- Why Some Parents Are Refusing HPV Vaccine For Their Children
- Study – Human Papillomavirus Vaccination and Cervical Cytology in Young Minority Women
- HPV Vaccine Still Beneficial in Sexually Active Women
- Study – The efficacy of HPV 16/18 vaccines on sexually active 18-23 year old women and the impact of HPV vaccination on organized cervical cancer screening.
- Study – HPV vaccines – A review of the first decade.
- Study – Monitoring vaccine and non-vaccine HPV type prevalence in the post-vaccination era in women living in the Basilicata region, Italy.
- Therapeutic HPV vaccines.
1 thought on “What Happens If You Get Gardasil and Already Have HPV?”
Thanks for writing this. Notice that in the figure the 95 percentile confidence interval crosses 0, that is in the lower right hand corner. So HPV vaccination has no effect on concurrent HPV infection.