HPV and Children. Is your child vaccinated?
Posted on: 08/09/2017
Each year, approximately 30,000 new cases of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) related cancers are diagnosed in the United States. While a third of these can be screened through Pap smear testing for cervical changes, two thirds(primarily cancers of the throat/tonsils as well as the anus/rectum) go largely undetected until they are far advanced and difficult to treat. Rather than battling these devastating cancers, wouldn’t it be better to stop them from happening in the first place?
We now have the power to prevent these cancers through HPV vaccination! Since 80-90% of all sexually active individuals will become infected with HPV, it is imperative to give the vaccine long before any exposure occurs. Once infected, HPV has the opportunity to cause cellular changes that may lead to cancer- then we are too late. This is one reason we recommend starting the series at ages 11-12 for both boys and girls. The immune response to this vaccine is more robust at these preteen ages. A common misconception is that HPV vaccination will cause increase in sexual promiscuity when children are given HPV vaccination. Studies have shown that this is NOT the case. This vaccine is very safe, as are all the vaccines we offer children. It is not a live vaccine therefore there is no possibility that one could contract HPV infection or cancer from the vaccine. It does not cause any changes in reproductive organs that would lead to fertility problems. Its only job is to make antibodies to HPV so that when a person is exposed, the virus cannot infect the individual- the antibodies will fight the virus.
All pediatric clinics in Lincoln in conjunction with Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln are collaborating in a city wide initiative to protect our young people through improved HPV vaccination rates. Through our efforts, we aim to lead the way in the state of Nebraska in prevention of HPV related cancers.