Free HPV vaccine available for Penn State students

January 12, 2012

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, Gardasil, will be offered through a series of clinics at the Student Health Center on Penn State's University Park campus this fall. The Pennsylvania Department of Health (PA DOH) has provided the vaccine to University Health Services free of charge for use by  all male and female students and their spouses (between the ages of 18 and 26). After the free vaccine clinics end, UHS will continue to offer Gardasil after November at full price.

The HPV vaccine clinic dates scheduled for spring are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Jan. 23; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, March 19; and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, April 19.

All vaccine clinics will be held in 205 Student Health Center.

Gardasil is highly effective against four types of HPV, including two that cause most cervical cancers. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S., with more than 20 million men and women currently infected and 6.2 million new infections each year. HPV is most common in men and women in their late teens and early 20s. By age 50, it is estimated that nearly 75 percent of Americans will have acquired an HPV infection.

Many people refer to HPV as genital warts, but HPV includes over 100 viruses. One-third of these viruses cause genital problems that affect both sexes, such as genital warts on a man’s penis or a woman’s vagina or cervix.  In a small number of women, cell changes in the cervix may be pre-cancerous. Genital warts can appear as small hard spots or have a fleshy cauliflower appearance, but in other cases warts are not visible to the naked eye.

The most common side effects of the vaccine are pain, swelling, itching, and redness at the injection site, and fever. Individuals who are allergic to any ingredient in the vaccine or who have an allergic reaction after the first dose should not receive the vaccine.

Gardasil is given in a series of three injections, with dose 2 given two or more months after the first dose, and dose 3 given six or more months after the first dose. Students who have already started the vaccine series, may continue and/or complete the series through one of the free clinics, provided the dose coincides with the scheduled clinics (verification of previous dose is required).

Supplies are limited. Appointments can be scheduled online at beginning one week before each clinic date. 

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Last Updated April 19, 2017