What is the HPV vaccine?

October 2, 2018

CDC recommendations for the HPV or human papillomavirus vaccine.

Hi! Dr. Jim here talking with you today about HPV or human papillomavirus. I recently did a segment on cancer of the cervix and brought up the fact that the HPV virus can be responsible for cancer of the cervix and I thought, “Gee, I ought to tell you something about the HPV virus and what this all means.”

So, I’m here today to talk at greater length on the human papillomavirus or the HPV virus. The bottom line with this? Infection from the HPV virus can be prevented and we’ll get into that in a second.

Understand this. It’s not just cancer the cervix we’re talking about, we are talking about cancer of the oral pharynx, tonsils, and the tongue. We’re talking about cancer of the vagina, vulva and the cervix and cancer of the anus and of the penis.

HPV is sexually transmitted and strains 16 and 18 are especially likely to cause the cancers I’ve discussed, depending on your sexual practices.

So, what about this HPV vaccine that I’m talking about.

The CDC recommends that all 11 and 12 year olds get two vaccinations six months apart. If they miss that, the CDC recommends parents get their children into additional vaccination; three doses spread out over a period of six months for children ages 14 and above.

HPV vaccine is recommended for all individuals who are male up to age 21 and females up to age 26. Or, if you’re in a high-risk group – high risk groups are transgendered, men who have sex with men and women who have high risk sexual behaviors like sex work, they should have the HPV vaccine up to age 26.

And so why is this? It’s because it prevents cancer of the vagina, of the vulva and cervix, the throat, the tongue, the tonsils, the penis and anus. So, dog-gone-it, get this stuff done. Parents get your kids vaccinated. Young adults, go out there and get this vaccine and prevent getting the kinds of cancers I’m talking about. Bottom line?  Power your path to happiness. This is Dr. Jim!

Summary HPV insights and recommendations by the CDC

Human papillomavirus or HPV Infection Consequences

  • Sexually transmitted
  • Causes cancers of the oral pharynx, cervix, vagina, penis and anus
  • 32,000 new cancer cases in the US annually

HPV vaccine recommendations:

  • All children age 11 or 12 years: two shots of HPV vaccine six to twelve months apart.
  • Children 14 years and older, three vaccinations over 6 months.
  • HPV vaccine is recommended for young women through age 26, and young men through age 21.

HPV vaccine recommendations for high-risk groups:

  • men who have sex with men, including gay or bisexual or who intend to have sex with men through age 26;
  • young adults who are transgender through age 26; and
  • young adults with immune compromised conditions (including HIV) through age 26.

Reference: Centers for Disease Control, 2018. HPV Vaccines: Vaccinating Your Preteen or Teen. Online [Available at] https://www.cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccine.html [Accessed September 30, 2018].