What is HPV?
The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States, with nearly everyone being infected at some point in their lives. In fact, it is estimated that 79 million Americans are infected with some type of HPV, and around 14 million new cases occur each year.
HPV as a Cause of Cancer
While some infections will go away on their own and do not cause any serious problems, other infections may lead to cancer and other diseases in both men and women.
Cancers associated with HPV include:
- Cervical cancer in females
- Vaginal and vulvar cancers in females
- Anal cancer in both females and males
- Throat cancer in females and males
- Penile cancer in males
It may take years, or even decades, for cancer to develop after a person is infected with HPV, so it’s important to do all you can to ensure your child is protected against the virus.
The HPV vaccine, 2 shots given 6 to 12 months apart, is recommended for all kids ages 11 and 12. If your child is 13 or older, the vaccine will most likely require three doses for completion. The most common side effect that your child may experience after receiving the vaccine is light-headedness.
How safe is the HPV vaccination?
HPV vaccines are highly effective when given before the initial exposure to the virus. Protection is long-lasting and the vaccine has been proven to offer almost 100% protection from the most common HPV types that are known to cause cancer.
Not only is the HPV vaccine effective, but it is also safe. It has been on the market for more than 10 years and is just as important as other vaccines that are highly recommended for your child.
View a brief CDC video of a doctor explaining the importance of the HPV vaccine here.