HPV is short for human papillomavirus, a group of more than 150 related viruses. HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives. Nearly 80 million Americans are currently infected with some type of HPV. It is most common in people in their late teens and early 20s.
HPV has no symptoms and generally goes undetected. Most HPV infections go away by themselves within two years, but sometimes HPV infections last longer and can cause certain cancers and other diseases that appear later in life when your child is a young adult.
Every year, more than 30,000 people in the United States contract a form of HPV-related cancer. For those diagnosed with HPV, there is no way to determine if they will develop cancer or other health problems.
The HPV vaccine is a safe and effective defense against HPV-related cancers. Studies conducted by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) show that the vaccine is nearly 100% effective against certain strains of HPV.
Because preteens show a higher rate of immune response, specialists recommend that children receive the vaccine in early adolescence, at 11-12 years of age. . HPV vaccine is recommended for young men and women through age 26.
Talk to your family’s primary care provider or Mercy pediatrician to learn more about protecting your child from HPV.