Human papilloma viruses, or HPV, are a group of more than two hundred common viruses. While most are harmless, the viruses can trigger side effects such as warts that can show up on your hands and feet. Some strains of HPV are particularly dangerous. These have been shown to cause several types of cancers including cancer of the throat as well as cancers of the male and female reproductive systems. Nearly eighty million Americans are infected with HPV. The virus generally goes away in two years without any further intervention and without causing any health problems. However, both men and women may face potentially serious and lifelong consequences from a lingering HPV infection. HPV can compromise their health, make it impossible to bear or father children and even accidentally get transmitted to someone they love.
Fortunately, there is a way to reduce your child’s chances of HPV infection. A safe and effective vaccine has been developed that prevents many types of HPV infections. The HPV vaccine is recommended by all major global health organizations including the CDC and WHO. Thirty nine thousand American men and women get HPV caused cancers every single year. The vaccine can prevent almost all of these cancers. Three HPV vaccines have been licensed in the United States. We stock the Gardasil 9 vaccine which protects against the seven most common strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer and two strains that cause genital warts. The vaccine can prevent roughly ninety percent of all HPV caused cervical cancer, many types of HPV induced head and neck cancers and nearly all cases of genital warts. As a result of early adaptation of the vaccine, Australia is set to become the first nation in the entire world to essentially eliminate cervical cancer and vastly reduce other types of HPV caused illnesses.
Girls and boys should get the HPV vaccine when they are eleven or twelve. The vaccine is given at this age because HPV is transmitted by intimate skin-to-skin contact. People can get the virus when they have any type of intimate contact with an infected individual. The vaccine can prevent HPV infection before the child has their first sexual experience. HPV infection in girls can lead to vaginal and vulva cancers in girls. Boys are also in danger from HPV infection. HPV infections can cause cancers of the anus, rectum and penis in men. Both sexes are at risk of cancers of the mouth and throat from HPV. Unlike cervical cancers, there are no specific tests to look for infections so they are typically caught at a later stage when they can be much harder to treat.
Children between the ages of eleven and fifteen only need two doses of HPV. Children fifteen and older should get three doses spaced six months apart. Older teens and adults from twenty-seven to forty-five can still benefit from HPV vaccination even if they have been sexually active and have certain strains of HPV. Vaccination can ward off any strains that are not already present in the person’s body. In short, the vaccine is a must for boys, girls and even parents.