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Among these, several HPV types cause genital warts, and about a dozen HPV types can cause certain types of cancer—cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, penile, vulvar, and vaginal.
As of May 2017, Gardasil 9 is the only HPV vaccine available for use in the United States.
HPV vaccines are highly effective in preventing infection with the types of HPV they target when given before initial exposure to the virus—which means before individuals begin to engage in sexual activity.
In the trials that led to the approval of Gardasil and Cervarix, these vaccines were found to provide nearly 100% protection against persistent cervical infections with HPV types 16 and 18 and the cervical cell changes that these persistent infections can cause.
However, they closely resemble the natural virus, and antibodies against the VLPs also have activity against the natural virus.
The VLPs have been found to be strongly immunogenic, which means that they induce high levels of antibody production by the body. The vaccines do not prevent other sexually transmitted diseases, nor do they treat existing HPV infections or HPV-caused disease.
To date, protection against the targeted HPV types has been found to last for at least 10 years with Gardasil (7), at least 9 years with Cervarix (8), and at least 6 years with Gardasil 9 (9).