HPV is short for human papillomavirus. About 20 million people in the United States, most in their teens and early 20s, are infected with HPV. Not only does HPV cause almost all cervical cancers in women, it also responsible for other types of cancer. HPV causes mouth/throat cancer, as well as anal cancer in both women and men. HPV can cause cancers of the vulva and vagina in women, and cancer of the penis in men. In the United States each year, there are about 18,000 women and 7,000 men affected by HPV-related cancers. Most of the HPV infections that cause these cancers could be prevented with vaccination.
Health Departments Offer HPV Vaccine
There is a vaccine that protects against many types of cancers caused by HPV. HPV vaccine is available through all Coastal Health District health departments in in the Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh counties. In 2016, the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) changed the recommendation from a three-dose vaccine series to two doses for persons starting the series before their 15th birthday. The second dose of HPV vaccine should be given six to twelve months after the first dose. Adolescents who receive their two doses less than five months apart will require a third dose of HPV vaccine. Teens and young adults who start the series at ages 15 through 26 years still need three doses of HPV vaccine Also, three doses are still recommended for people with certain immunocompromising conditions aged 9 through 26 years.
Young women can get HPV vaccine through age 26, and young men can get vaccinated through age 21.
What about the HPV vaccine?
HPV vaccine is safe, effective, and can protect people from most of the cancers caused by HPV and genital warts. Click HERE for more information about vaccine protection from HPV.