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Let’s keep our kids HPV-free

3 shots help prevent cancer. Learn more.

If you could protect your child from cancer with 3 simple shots, would you?

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. 

As a parent, it’s difficult to accept that your children will one day be sexually active. It’s even harder to think of them engaging in sexual behavior that could put them at risk for diseases.

However, it’s also too important to ignore.

HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). So common, in fact, that 4 out of 5 adults will contract HPV at some point in their life. But it can be prevented simply by having your child vaccinated.

How is HPV spread?

HPV is spread through vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the virus, and it can be passed even when an infected person doesn’t show any signs or symptoms. Oftentimes, 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 can’t be treated, but a vaccine can 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 parents may think age 11 or 12 is too young to start worrying about sexual activity and STDs in their kids, it is the recommended age to receive the vaccine. At this age, HPV vaccination gives boys’ and girls’ bodies time to develop an immune response before they are 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 series of 3 shots that are given 6 to 12 months apart. The series can be started as early as age 9 but should be completed by age 13.
 
Think of your kids now — it will protect them later.

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

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