ZocdocAnswersCan you still take the HPV vaccine if you already have HPV?

Question

Can you still take the HPV vaccine if you already have HPV?

I'm a 27 year old female and I heard that almost 75% of the population already has HPV if they are sexually active. Does this mean that if I already have it I can't get that new vaccine that prevents it? Will the vaccine cure my HPV?

Answer

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the name given to a group of more than 100 different viruses. Many types of HPV are harmless. Some types can cause changes in your cervix which can lead to cervical cancer if not treated. The other types are the most common forms of sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Anyone who is sexually active can get HPV and needs to be vaccinated. The vaccines trigger the production of antibodies in your body to protect you from getting infected with HPV. There are two types of HPV vaccines that protect against HPV types 16 and 18 which cause 70% cases of cervical cancer. One of these vaccines can also protect against types 6 and 11 which cause 90% cases of genital warts. The HPV vaccine will not cure your existing HPV or prevent infections if you have already been exposed to the virus. However, if you are sexually active, you should still consider be vaccinated. Even if you have one type of HPV, it can protect you from new exposures of the other three types of HPV. I hope you find the information helpful. If you are concerned about HPV infection and need more information, I suggest that you consult with a primary care physician about how much protection the vaccine can provide and to seek treatment of your HPV soon.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.