Cervarix offers protection against cervical cancer caused by certain types of HPV (human papillomavirus). It can be used in girls as young as 9 years old. While Cervarix helps prevent HPV, it cannot cure or treat an infection. Off-label uses of Cervarix include giving the vaccine to girls younger than 9 or older than 25.
What Is Cervarix Used For?Cervarix® (Human Papillomavirus Bivalent [Types 16 and 18] Vaccine, Recombinant) is a vaccine that has been licensed to prevent cervical cancer, as well as precancerous cervical lesions, caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV for short). Cervarix can be used in girls and women age 9 to 25.
What Is HPV?Human papillomavirus is a common type of virus, infecting more then 20 million people in the United States. There are actually 100 different types of HPV. For more than 30 types, HPV transmission occurs through sexual contact, making it one of the most common types of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In fact, 50 percent of sexually active people catch HPV during their lifetime.
HPV symptoms will depend on which virus a person is infected with. Some types of HPV cause no symptoms, while others may cause warts (skin-colored growths) on the hands or feet. Other types cause genital warts or cervical cancer.
Keep in mind that Cervarix is not an HPV cure or treatment -- it is used for prevention. However, because a human papillomavirus infection cannot be cured, HPV prevention is very important.
Using Cervarix to Prevent Cervical CancerThe cervix is the lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina. Cancer of the cervix is a serious disease that can be life-threatening if not caught early. This is why screening for cervical cancer (such as a "Pap" test) is so important.
Symptoms of cervical cancer include unusual vaginal bleeding and vaginal bleeding after sexual intercourse. Often, however, there are no early symptoms. Cervical cancer treatment includes surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, depending on the stage of the cancer. These stages are a way of categorizing the severity of the disease.
Cervarix protects against two types of HPV that cause at least 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. This vaccine can help prevent infection with HPV and can prevent HPV-related cervical cancer.