Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is an incredibly common disease that is actually a group of more than 100 viruses.
According to the CDC, about 79 million people in the United States currently are infected with HPV, and 14 million will become infected each year. Here are a few things you should know about HPV so you can be prepared:
Eighty percent of women get HPV before the age of 50. Most of the time, HPV goes away on its own. However, there are occasions where HPV can have long-term effects on people.
2. HPV doesn’t have a singular meaning
Scientists have identified more than 170 different types of HPV, and they continue to find more. According to the most recent studies, 40 types of HPV are spread through some form of sexual contact, 12 are linked to cancer, and two are HPV-related cancers.
3. Men can get HPV too
According to the CDC, almost all sexually active men will contract HPV at some point in their lives, and they contract it the same way as women do. Even though it goes away on its own a majority of the time, if it persists, it can cause cancer of the anus, penis, and throat.
4. It Can Cause Throat Cancer and Cervical Cancer
HPV is a huge reason behind the increase in throat cancer, and doctors predict that it will cause more throat cancers than cervical cancers by 2020. Common symptoms include hoarseness and pain when swallowing.
5. There’s a Vaccine for HPV – for Girls and Boys!
There are approved vaccines for HPV. For a vaccine that protects against precancers of the vulva, vagina, and anus, we use Gardasil. CDC guidelines suggest girls and boys should get the vaccine between 11 and 12 years of age. The vaccine is given as three separate shots over 6 months or longer.
HPV Vaccine at Elmwood Pediatrics
We offer the vaccine at annual check up’s starting at age 11 years. If you have missed the vaccine or need to schedule a booster shot, then call for a nurse appointment by calling (404) 351-7900.