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Does it make sense to take the Gardasil vaccine if I have already been exposed to the human papillomavirus?

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I heard that the body can get rid of HPV completely. If this is true, can you reexpose or recatch it again after you've gotten rid of it? Also, does it make sense to even get the Gardasil vaccine if you've already been exposed? I ask that because it your body does get rid of it, can the vaccine protect you from becoming reinfected?
Sat, 21 Apr 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 1 hour later
Hello Erial,

Thanks for your query.

As you indicated in your question, the body can sometimes eliminate an HPV infection. It is likely dependent on the immune system of the person dealing with the infection and how the immune system functions to eliminate such a viral infection.

The answer to your other question is YES - if you have been exposed and eliminated an infection and are exposed again - you could certainly become infected once again.

Lastly - the Gardasil vaccine targets 4 main strains of HPV which are known to be linked to development of cervical cancer. It is reasonable to consider vaccination even in the setting where someone has been exposed previously to other strains of the virus. In this sense, the vaccine prevents you from becoming infected with the 4 strains I mentioned just previously.

I hope this has provided you with adequate information regarding your query. I am available for followups if you need.


Dr. Robert Galamaga
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