HPV - Prevention With Vaccination

If you had the ability to protect your child from possibly getting certain kinds of cancer later in life, wouldn’t you take whatever means was necessary? It is very simple, with a vaccine to protect against the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is a widespread virus that is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact. HPV can cause six different types of cancers in adults later in life, so the absolute best protection is to get the vaccine.

Many parents may choose not to vaccinate their children against HPV, because they believe the vaccine is not necessary or their children are too young. This is typically due to misinformation about vaccines and HPV caused cancers. Parents may also choose not to vaccinate their children, because they believe it may suggest to their children that it is okay to participate in sexual activities, or that the vaccine only works to prevent sexually transmitted infections.

Many myths surround the HPV vaccine, and unfortunately, when parents believe these myths, they put their children in danger for six different types of cancer as they get older. The HPV vaccine only works if it is administered before individuals are infected by the virus. Infection begins after HPV is contracted through any form of sexual activity, and there is no cure for the virus. While many parents may believe the vaccine encourages sexual activity, a 2018 study conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics found no association between states that require HPV vaccination, school attendance, and sexual behavior in teens.

According to studies done by scientists at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, the HPV vaccine prevents 90% of HPV-associated cancers. Scientists also found that HPV Virus caused almost all cases of cervical cancer, 90% of anal cancers, 69% of vaginal cancers, 51% of vulvar cancers, 40% of penile cancers, and 70% of throat cancers. Improving parent’s awareness of how the HPV vaccine can prevent certain cancers is a way to get parents to vaccine their children. A chief scientific officer at the American Cancer Society believes, based on evidence, “If we had nearly full vaccination rates, we could essentially eliminate these cancers.”

Prevention is key. This begins with getting vaccinated, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three different HPV vaccines. The CDC believes early protection works best, and that is why parents should speak with their child’s pediatrician about when to begin HPV vaccinations. Typically, children between 9 and 12 years of age are ready for their first vaccination against HPV, with their second vaccination six months after. However, if you choose to wait until your child is 15 or above, three vaccinations over the course of six months will be necessary. Your Goldsboro pediatrician encourages the HPV vaccine, and can answer any questions you may have about it.

Vaccination years before sexual activity begins is the best way to prevent HPV infection. Once sexual activity does begin, consistent condom usage and routine STI testing is the best way to prevent HPV. According to the CDC, infections with HPV types that can cause most cancers and genital warts have dropped 88 percent among teen girls. As well as HPV infections and cervical precancers having dropped since 2006, when the HPV vaccines were first introduced in the US. Parents should begin having conversations about HPV vaccination and prevention with their child’s pediatrician early on. Parents should also have conversations with their children about HPV when they reach an appropriate age. Proper health education, open communication, and routine vaccination is vital to preventing HPV infections and HPV caused cancers.

Planned Parenthood
The New York times
Henry Ford Health

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