The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is spread through intimate skin-to-skin contact (vaginal, anal and oral sex). It can be spread when an infected individual has no signs or symptoms of the virus. There are many different types of HPV – some types can cause health problems, including genital warts and six different types of cancers. HPV often goes away on its own, but if it does not, it can lead to cancer in people of all genders. HPV causes six types of cancer including cervical, vaginal, vulvar, penile, anal, and oropharyngeal (mouth and throat) cancers.
HPV Vaccine is Cancer Prevention
The HPV vaccine is cancer prevention. It is designed to prevent infection and is targeted towards the specific types of HPV that can lead to precancers, cancers, and genital warts. The HPV vaccine:
Prevents more than 90% of cancers caused by HPV;
Provides safe and lasting protection against infections that cause HPV-related cancers;
It is given as a series of two-doses for boys and girls ages 11-12. The second dose should be given 6-12 months after the first dose; It is best given long before preteens are exposed to the virus; It is best given long before preteens are exposed to the virus. It is safe and effective beginning at age 9.
Can be given at the same time as other recommended vaccines such as meningitis and whooping cough all in the same visit.
It is also recommended through age 26 for those not vaccinated in childhood, and is safe for people between 27-45 with guidance from a health care provider.
Did You Know…?
- Every year in New York, nearly 2,600 people are diagnosed with cancer caused by HPV.
- Even though the HPV vaccine can prevent many cancers caused by HPV infection, three out of 10 adolescents in New York State (NYS) are not getting the vaccine as recommended.
- In NYS, up-to-date HPV vaccination coverage is much lower than coverage of other recommended vaccines for adolescents age 13-17 years (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, 95%; meningitis, 94%; HPV, 68%).
HPV Vaccination in the Pandemic
- In 2020, there were one million fewer HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine doses given in the U.S., as compared to 2019.
- COVID-19 caused many parents to delay regular health care visits for their children.
- Current data shows a 71% decrease in healthcare visits for children ages seven to 17 years old during 2020.
- Prevention of HPV-related cancers remains a public health priority. Medical offices take many steps to make patient visits safe. Now is not the time to skip vaccinations. Vaccinating children on time is the best way to protect them. Talk with your healthcare provider about getting the HPV vaccine for children 11-12 years old, don’t wait.