HPV Vaccine - What You Should Know

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the United States. Roughly 80% of women will get at least one type of HPV in their lifetime and may not even know they had it. Sometimes it has no symptoms and goes away on its own.

Your son or daughter may not be sexually active now, but will be at some point in life. Girls can contract HPV in their teenage or young adult years, and then develop cervical cancer, vaginal cancer and vulvar cancer years later. Head and neck cancers, as well as anal cancer in both men and women, have been linked to HPV. Men are at risk for penile cancer. Recent research suggests that HPV may be linked to cardiovascular disease in women. Thankfully, there is a vaccine to protect against these awful diseases. The HPV vaccine has the best chance of protecting against infection if a person gets the series of shots before becoming sexually active.

HPV vaccine is recommended for routine vaccination beginning at 9 years of age. Two doses of HPV vaccine are recommended for most people starting the series before 15 years old. The second dose should be given 6 to 12 months after the first dose. Adolescents who receive two doses less than 5 months apart will need a third dose.

Three doses of HPV vaccine are recommended for teens and young adults who start the series at ages 15 through 26 years, and for immunocompromised persons.

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, HPV vaccination rates among adolescents fell by 75%. Since March 2020, an estimated one million doses of HPV vaccine have been missed by adolescents who have public insurance.

HPV-related cancers are usually able to be treated successfully. But preventing a cancer is far better than treating it, which makes the HPV vaccine a valuable weapon against cancer. Contact Goldsboro Pediatrics to get more information about and to schedule the HPV vaccine.


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