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The Immunization That Can Prevent Cervical Cancer

Written By Orlando Mota, MD

What is HPV??

Human Papilloma Virus is the most prevalent viral sexually transmittedinfection in the USA.

Up to 70% of sexually active women eventually acquire HPV through sexual transmission; most have their first infection within 3 years of beginning sexual intercourse. (nelson)

Persistent infection with high-risk types of HPV is associated with development of cervical cancer. There are more than 12,000 new casesand 4,000 deaths attributed to HPV annually in the United States, including Vulvar, Vaginal, Penile, and Anal Cancers,with a significant percentage of Oropharyngeal Cancers.  (Red book).

Why get vaccinated??

The HPV vaccine, Gardasil, is one of two vaccines that can be given to prevent HPV. It may be given to both males and females. This vaccine can prevent most cases of Cervical Cancer in females if it is given before exposure to the virus. In addition, it can prevent Vaginal and Vulvar Cancer in females, and Genital Warts and Anal Cancer in both males and females.(CDC)

Protection from HPV vaccine is expected to be long-lasting. But vaccination is not a substitute for Cervical Cancer screening. Women should still get regular Pap Tests.(CDC)

Parents are sometimes hesitant when it comes to the HPV immunization, thus causing rates for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) among girls aged 13 to 17 years not to increase between 2011 and 2012; in fact, coverage of the 3-dose vaccine decreased slightly during that time period.

Among girls unvaccinated for HPV, 84% had a healthcare visit where they received another vaccine during that same time period. Gaps in parental understanding about the vaccine, including why it is recommended at ages 11 or 12, and parental safety concerns are cited as reasons for low HPV vaccination rates.(Reference  1HPV vaccine: safe, effective, and grossly underutilized. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2013)

News

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved GARDASIL®9 (Human Papillomavirus 9-valent Vaccine, Recombinant), Merck’s 9-valent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, for use in girls and young women 9 to 26 years of age for the prevention of cervical, vulvar, vaginal, and anal cancers caused by HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58, pre-cancerous or dysplastic lesions caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52, and 58, and genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11. GARDASIL 9 is also approved for use in boys 9 to 15 years of age for the prevention of anal cancer caused by HPV types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58, precancerous or dysplastic lesions caused by HPV types 6, 11, 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58, and genital warts caused by HPV types 6 and 11. GARDASIL 9 is contraindicated in individuals with hypersensitivity, including severe allergic reactions to yeast, or after a previous dose of GARDASIL 9 or GARDASIL®

HPV Vaccination is recommended routinely for all girls at 11-12 years of age, and is administered intramuscularly in the deltoid region in a 3-dose series at 1, 2, and 6 months.

It is important that vaccination take place in children before they become sexually active, because the rate of HPV acquisition is high shortly after the onset of sexual activity.

The vaccine can be given to girls as young as 9 years of age, and a catch-up vaccination is recommended in girls 13-26 years of age. Individuals who are already infected with one or more vaccine-related HPV typesprior to vaccination are protected from clinical disease caused by the remaining vaccineHPV types. However, the vaccines are not therapeutic, meaning; the vaccine will not cure pre-existing HVP viruses.

The Quadrivalent vaccine is also licensed to be administered in a 3-dose series to males aged 9 through 26 years to reduce their likelihood of acquiring Genital Warts and developing Anal Dysplasia and cancer.(Nelson)

If more questions persist, please contact your child’s pediatrician to discuss the benefits and concerns you may have about the HVP vaccine.

 

Reference

Red book

Red Book, 29th Edition (2012):

Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases

By AAP Committee on Infectious Diseases

Edited by Larry K. Pickering , Carol J. Baker , and David W. Kimberlin

Book | Published in 2012

ISBN (paper): 978-1-58110-703-6

ISBN (electronic): 978-1-58110-735-7

 

Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics 

Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics19th Edition. By Robert M. Kliegman, MD, Bonita M.D. Stanton, MD, Joseph St. Geme, Nina Schor, MD, PhD and Richard E.

 

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