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HPV vaccination protects kids from cancers

HPV, short for human papilloma virus, is a common virus that can cause cancers in men and women. In fact, most unvaccinated adults will contract HPV at some point in their lives – but vaccinating your child at age 11 or 12 can stop HPV, and potentially cancer, in its tracks.

How is HPV spread?

HPV is spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the virus — it can be passed even when an infected person doesn’t show any signs or symptoms. Often times, people are unaware they even have the virus. Any sexually active person can contract HPV. In some cases, symptoms don’t develop until years after getting infected. HPV infection has no treatment, but the vaccine can help prevent it.

Why should my kids get the HPV vaccine?

Each year, more than 33,000 men and women are diagnosed with HPV-caused cancers. HPV vaccination protects against the virus and the cancers it causes.

Having your kids vaccinated at the recommended age can protect them from contracting HPV later on in life. The human papilloma virus is linked to causing genital warts and the following cancers:

In females:

  • Cervical cancer
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Vulvar cancer
  • Throat cancers
  • Anal cancers
  • Cancers of the mouth

In males:

  • Cancers of the mouth
  • Throat cancers
  • Anal cancer
  • Penile cancer

Having your kids receive the HPV vaccine protects them against 90 percent of HPV-caused cancers. 

Is vaccination for HPV safe? 

Yes! Although some parents may think this is too young of an age to start worrying about their kids becoming sexually active and STDs, 11 or 12 is the recommended age for both boys and girls to receive the vaccine because it gives their bodies time to develop an immune response before they can ever be exposed to the virus — just as with measles or pneumonia.

At what age should my kids receive the HPV vaccine?

Vaccination for HPV is recommended for both boys and girls at age 11 or 12. It’s a simple, painless series of three shots that are given six to 12 months apart. The series can be started as early as age 9 but should be completed by age 13.

For more information about getting your kids vaccinated, talk to their pediatrician or your family doctor.

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