HPV vaccines are recommended for teenagers to prevent genital warts and certain sexually-transmitted cancers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Two doses of the HPV vaccine are recommended for teenagers who get the first dose before their 15th birthday — ideally at 11 or 12 years old. Three doses are recommended for teenagers who get the first dose between their 15th and 26th birthday.
The good news is that 60% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 received their first dose of the HPV vaccine in 2016, which was a slight improvement over the rates in 2015.
The bad news is that only 43% of teenagers and young adults are up-to-date on all of the recommended doses of the HPV vaccine, especially in rural and less urban areas.
According to CDC epidemiologist Dr. Geraldine McQuillan:
You need to give it before kids become sexually active, before they get infected. By the time they’re in their mid-20s, people are infected and it’s too late. This is a vaccine against cancer — that’s the message.”
HPV is the most common sexually-transmitted infection in the U.S., with virtually all sexually-active individuals exposed to it by their early 20s. The HPV vaccine Gardasil® helps protects against 9 type of HPV that cause genital warts or cancers of the cervix, vagina, penis, anus and throat.
The CDC findings were published in the August 25 issue of the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.