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Can Gardasil actually remove mild warts?

Posted Dec 18 2008 7:28pm
Question:Can Gardasil actually remove mild warts or is it only for preventing
infection in the first place? I was also wondering if a woman can take
Gardasil and the infection can be eliminated.>>

Answer:
Gardasil is a preventive vaccine, not a therapeutic vaccine, so it can't eliminate the infection once you have it. But since people can be coinfected with multiple types of HPV (some cause warts, some cause cancer) it can prevent you from acquiring additional HPV types you don't already have. Gardasil is a quadrivalent vaccine--meaning it prevents infection from 4 types of HPV--two causing warts, and two that cause the majority of cancers. Since most people with HIV are by definition sexually active, they've already been exposed to HPV--how many types depends on the extent of sexual activity, and how old you are. So in theory it could prevent you from being infected by the HPV types you don't already have, but it's hard to know what kinds you have since I don't think those tests are commercially available (they're only done as part of research)

Sorry I couldn't give you a simpler answer. So whether you should take the vaccine becomes a personal choice--mostly determined by whether you're willing to spend the money (I think it's about $300? Don't quote me on that) and it's a series of shots, not a one time deal.

The far more important thing to do is to get a regular PAP smear of your rectum (and cervix, if you have one) If the results come back abnormal (as they often do--esp in HIV positives) it's imperative that you follow it up with an anoscopy (or colposcopy for the cervix) and a biopsy of any suspicious areas. If the results come back grade 2 or higher they must be removed (don't let anyone convince you otherwise--HIV+ people are at much higher risk of rapid progression to cancer) Women know all about HPV and the cervix, and for the past 40 yrs PAP smears and followup testing have drastically lowered the cancer incidence & deaths. You need to be proactive and make sure you and your doctor do the same for your butt. For a list of certified anal PAP smear practitioners, go to http://www.analcancerinfo.ucsf.edu/

Hope this helps.

Jeff in Palm Springs
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