The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first vaccine to protect against most cervical cancer.
Gardasil is approved for use in girls and women from nine to 26 years old. Merck and Company says the vaccine prevents infection by four strains of the human papillomavirus, or H-P-V. Two of the strains are responsible for about 70 percent of cervical cancer cases. The three-shot series is estimated to cost 300 to 500 dollars. Medical experts recommend vaccination at a young age because it's most effective when given before girls start having sex. The F-D-A says it may not protect people already infected and may increase the risk of developments tied to cancer. Conservative groups support making the vaccine available, but oppose mandatory vaccination. H-P-V affects more than 50 percent of sexually active adults at some point in their lives.