WHAT IS HPV?
HPV (short for Human Papillomavirus) is a virus that can cause certain cancers and disease in both males and females. In the United States each year, there are about 17,500 women and 9,300 men affected by HPV-related cancers. In both women and men, HPV can cause anal cancer and mouth/throat (oropharyngeal) cancer. It can also cause cancers of the cervix, vulva and vagina in women; and cancer of the penis in men.
Many of these cancers could be prevented with vaccination. Routine vaccination at age 11 or 12 years has been recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The ACIP recently released new recommendations for use of a 2-dose schedule for girls and boys who initiate the vaccination series at ages 9 through 14 years. Three doses remain recommended for persons who initiate the vaccination series at ages 15 through 26 years and for immunocompromised persons.
All preteens need HPV vaccination so they can be protected from HPV infections that cause cancer. Teens and young adults who didn’t start or finish the HPV vaccine series also need HPV vaccination.
If you are a parent who is concerned about HPV, do not hesitate to talk to your child’s doctor or health care professional. Ask how you can protect your child from HPV-related cancers and diseases. Bring the HPV Fact Sheet with you when you talk to your child’s doctor or health care professional. Having the fact sheet on hand can help you guide the conversation at your child’s next appointment.
Now is the perfect time to ask about HPV vaccine for your preteens and teens. HPV immunization is cancer prevention.