The HPV Vaccine is a vaccine which can actually prevent infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV), a major cause of cervical cancer. Although many HPV infections do not lead to cancer, there are still tens of thousands of people who can avoid cancer through this vaccination. Cervical cancer is the second highest source of cancer death in women and the vaccine against HPV can also help prevent other types of cancer in both men and women.
An Important Part of Routine Child Healthcare
The HPV vaccine is now offered to each child who is cared for at HHC's primary medical homes -- the same way that we regularly give other childhood vaccines. When your child reaches the age of 11 or 12, your doctor will offer to give the first in a series of three HPV vaccinations. Each shot will be followed by an appointment to receive the next until all three have been completed within six months and your child is protected from the HPV virus.
Why Should Young People Get Vaccinated?
Early adolescence through young adulthood is the best time to fight HPV. Why? Once someone is infected with HPV, there is no cure for it. Although only women can get cervical cancer, both boys and girls should be vaccinated for HPV, since the virus can cause other forms of cancer and warts in the genital and throat areas. We offer the vaccine to young people up to the age of 26, but earlier is better. The federal CDC recommends that young people receive the vaccine between 11 and 12 or as early as 9. It’s important to be vaccinated before sexual activity begins, since that’s how HPV is usually transmitted. HHC encourages all parents to talk to their doctor about protecting their child with an HPV vaccination.
What If I'm Too Old for the Vaccine?
If you or your family members are over age 26, it remains important that you have regular cancer screenings as part of your healthcare. HHC doctors follow the guidelines of the federal U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, recommending cervical cancer screenings for women from ages 21 to 65. Talk to your doctor to learn more.
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