HPV rise highlights need for vaccination

Pediatricians urge boys and girls to be vaccinated

As a new study shows human papillomavirus (HPV) has increased dramatically over the past 20 years — especially among men — doctors are stressing the importance of having their children vaccinated.

HPV is a very common virus; nearly 80 million people in the U.S. — about one in four —currently are infected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year.

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“Most people with HPV never develop symptoms or health problems,” said Brian E. Posnansky, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Middletown. “But HPV infections can cause certain cancers and other serious diseases.”

Dr. Posnansky encourages parents to have their children vaccinated.

“It’s uncomfortable for parents to think about their child being sexually active, but the vaccine can save their lives even decades down the road,” he said.

Who should be vaccinated?

All kids who are 11 or 12 years old should get two shots of HPV vaccine six to 12 months apart. Adolescents who receive their two shots less than five months apart will require a third dose. If your child is older than 14, three shots will need to be given over six months. Also, three doses are recommended for people ages 9 to 26 with certain health conditions that affect the immune system.