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A 24-year-old member asked:

is the hpv vaccine really more effective before a female is sexually active?

4 doctor answers18 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jeff Livingston
Obstetrics and Gynecology 22 years experience
Yes: The vaccine is most effective before you are exposed to hpv. Hpv is very common and people begin getting exposed as soon as they start having sex. It is not that the vaccine is more effective before you are sexually active but rather more effective before you get exposed to hpv.
Dr. Marcus Degraw
Pediatrics 22 years experience
Yes!: Well, is the measles shot better to get before you get measles? Of course! that is how vaccines work! they prevent infection, not treat infections you already have. The problem is, that about 40% of women will acquire hpv withint two years of sexual activity debut! get the shot for your kids before they are old enough to think about sex, not when you think they need it. By then, it may late!
Dr. Jeff Livingston
Obstetrics and Gynecology 22 years experience
Great answer
Nov 1, 2011
Dr. Scott Katz
Pediatrics 26 years experience
Yes: Unfortunately, if you wait, your child may have already been exposed to the virus. It can happen with the first sexual experience, and the vaccine would not be helpful at that point. We recommend giving the vaccine when they are too young to even think about sex. Don't forget we had the same "controversy" about the Hepatitis B Vaccine over 20 years ago.
Dr. Mark Diamond
Pediatrics 46 years experience
The Data Says Yes: The data suggests that it is more effective if given before the onset of sexual activity.But it still apparently provides protection afterwards, just not as strong.

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Last updated Oct 24, 2017
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