January 18, 2013

Human Papillomavirus

About 20 million people in the US, most in their teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV, or human papillomavirus.

Not only does HPV cause almost all cervical cancers in women, it also responsible for other types of cancer. HPV causes mouth/throat cancer, as well as anal cancer in both women and men. HPV can cause cancers of the vulva and vagina in women, and cancer of the penis in men. In the US each year, there are about 18,000 women and 7,000 men affected by HPV-related cancers.

Most of the HPV infections that cause these cancers could be prevented with vaccination.

HPV-related cancers can be devastating. The National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) has a database of personal stories by individuals affected by HPV and other vaccine-preventable diseases.

HPV vaccines offer the greatest health benefits to individuals who receive all three doses before having any type of sexual activity. That’s why HPV vaccination is recommended for preteen girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years. HPV vaccines are given in a series of 3 shots over 6 months. It is very important to complete all 3 shots to get the best protection. More than 46 million doses of HPV vaccine have been administered, and vaccine studies continue to show that HPV vaccines are safe.

If your son or daughter hasn’t started or finished the HPV vaccine series yet—it’s not too late! Now is a good time to ask their doctor or nurse about vaccines for your preteens and teens. Visit  to learn more about HPV and HPV vaccines.

And plan to attend the Clinical Vaccinology Course scheduled for March 8-10, 2013 in Chicago, IL to learn more about HPV vaccines from leading experts—early registration deadline is Monday, January 21.