Many people do not realize that there are vaccines available to prevent certain sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Get vaccinated for the following viruses that have immunizations prior to engaging in sexual activity:
- Human Papillomavirus (HPV) has more than 100 strains, some of which can cause cervical cancer in women or oropharyngeal cancer in both men and women. Some cancer-causing strains are preventable by a series of vaccinations.
- Cervarix® – Series of 3 vaccines for females between the ages of 9 and 25. Prevents HPV strains 16 and 18, which are linked to cervical cancer.
- Gardasil® – Series of 3 vaccines for males and females between the ages of 9 and 26. Prevents HPV strains 6, 11, 16, and 18. Gardasil is used for the prevention of certain vulvar, cervical and vaginal cancers in females. In males, Gardasil is used to prevent genital warts. In both sexes, Gardasil is given for the prevention of genital warts caused by strain 6 and 11, and the prevention of anal cancers caused by strains 16 and 18.
- Hepatitis A (HAV) is a viral liver disease that is typically contracted from contaminated food or water, but also can be contracted from oro-anal sex or analingus. This virus is completely preventable by vaccine and can be given to anyone over that age of 1 and is a two-shot vaccine series given six months apart.
- VAQTA® – Two-shot series that can be given to anyone 1 year or older.
- HAVRIX® – Two-dose series that can be administered to anyone 1 year or older.
- Twinrix® – A three or four-shot series that includes immunization for both HAV and HBV. The adult version is for people over the age of 19 and includes 3 or 4 doses depending on the amount. The pediatric dosage is approved for 1 to 18-year-olds and comes in a 3 or 4 dose series depending on the amount.
- Hepatitis B (HBV) is also a viral liver disease that can be prevented via immunization completed prior to exposure to the virus. Hepatitis B is typically spread when HBV-infected bodily fluids, such as semen, blood, and/or menstrual or vaginal fluids enter the body of an individual without the infection. HBV can also be transmitted from shared drug equipment, improperly sterilized tattooing equipment, or from an infected mother to her baby at birth. The HBV vaccine comes in a two, three or four shot series.
- Recombivax HB® – Two-shot series is approved for children ages 11-15.
- Engerix-B® – Three-shot series is the standard series and can be administered to anyone over 1 year of age. The second shot is to be given 1 month after the first, and the third vaccine is given 6 months after the first vaccine.
- Twinrix® – Three or four-shot series that includes immunization for both HAV and HBV. The adult version is for people over the age of 19 and includes 3 or 4 doses depending on the amount. The pediatric dosage is approved for 1 to 18-year-olds and comes in a 3 or 4 dose series depending on the amount.
Immunizations to prevent herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2, and HIV are currently being researched.
For more ways to avoid STDs, read ‘How To Practice Safer Sex.’