HPV stands for human papillomavirus and refers to a group of more than 150 related viruses that can potentially lead to someone experiencing a variety of health issues, including cancer. While HPV is quite common, the majority of people who have it do not know they have the virus. While it is possible for HPV to go away on its own, this is not always the case. When HPV does not go away and instead lives on in one's body, it is possible for them to experience various types of health issues, including genital warts and various types of cancers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HPV causes about 31,500 new cases of cancer every year in the US, with most people who have HPV never developing symptoms or health problems before their diagnosis.
What is the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccine is able to offer protection from being diagnosed with some of the more common types of cancer that can stem from having an infection caused by HPV. While the majority of HPV infections will go away on their own, usually within a two-year timeframe, it is when these infections last for longer periods of time that certain diseases, including cancer, can begin to develop. HPV is currently responsible for roughly five percent of all cancers in the entire world, with cervical cancer being one of the more common cancer diagnoses.
What are the benefits of the HPV vaccine?
The HPV vaccine offers a variety of health-related benefits and is considered to be both safe and effective for all ages. Benefits that come with using the HPV vaccine:
- HPV is very common, which means that it is more than likely that someone will be infected during their lifetime at some point. An HPV vaccine helps to ensure that they are protected from some of the more serious viruses that can lead to a cancer diagnosis
- HPV includes viruses that will go away on their own as well as viruses that will stay within the body. The vaccine can help protect people when their case of HPV does not go away on its own
- The HPV vaccine is nearly 100 percent effective when it comes to protecting people from the nine different types of HPV that can lead to a cancer diagnosis
How is it administered?
The HPV vaccine is administered via two separate injections. The second injection needs to be given at least six months after the first injection has been administered.
Getting the HPV vaccine
The HPV vaccine is currently being recommended by the American Cancer Society for both girls and boys when they reach the age of 11 or 12. This age frame allows for the highest chances of success as the vaccine is able to create a higher immune response during the preteen years. The vaccine is also recommended for young women and young men in their early twenties. Anytime is the right time to come in for an HPV shot. Whether you are in the recommended age group or your children are, now is the time for you to take action as you do not want to put off getting a vaccine that can help to prevent a variety of serious health-related problems, like cancer.