Condensed from an article by Alexandra Sifferlin for Time Health
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. It’s so common that federal experts say that nearly every sexually active man or woman will be infected with at least one strain at some point in their lives and one of the riskiest strains of HPV known to cause cancer, HPV 16, was six times more common among men than women.
“There was this perception that HPV was a disease among women, and that needs to change,” says study author Ashish Deshmukh, an assistant professor in the department of health services research, management and policy at the University of Florida.
Condensed from the CDC website
Protecting your preteen children from most of the cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is the thing to do. HPV is a very common virus that spreads between people when they have sexual contact with another person. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. HPV infection can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women and penile cancer in men. HPV can also cause anal cancer, throat cancer, and genital warts in both men and women.
The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. HPV vaccine also produces a higher immune response in preteens than in older adolescents.
HPV vaccination is a series of shots given over several months. The best way to remember to get your child all of the shots they need is to make an appointment for the remaining shots before you leave the doctor’s office or clinic.
HPV vaccines have been studied very carefully. These studies showed no serious safety concerns. Common, mild adverse events (side effects) reported during these studies include pain in the arm where the shot was given, fever, dizziness and nausea.
If your preteen hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet, talk to their doctor about getting it for them as soon as possible. This one is really important.