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Mid Coast Center for Community Health & Wellness Newsletter
September 2020
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Human Papilloma Virus, Cancer, and Prevention

HPV Information for Parents

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is a group of viruses that can be passed from one person to another by skin-to-skin contact, such as occurs with sexual activity. HPV can be spread even when an infected person has no visible signs or symptoms. Most sexually active men and women get at least one type of genital HPV in their lifetime.

The American Cancer Society recommends that boys and girls get vaccinated against HPV between the ages of 9 and 12 to help prevent cancer later in life. 

Learn more about the HPV vaccination:

  • Age Matters: When you vaccinate your child on time, you help protect them from HPV cancers. HPV vaccination works best when given before age 13. Vaccination at the recommended ages will prevent more cancers than vaccination at older ages.
  • The HPV Vaccine is for Boys and Girls: Both males and females can get HPV. It’s very common; scientists estimate that between 80-90% of people will be infected with at least one type of HPV in their lifetime. Although cervical cancer is the most well-known type of cancer caused by HPV, persistent infection can cause several other types of cancer.
  • HPV is Very Common: Almost every person who is sexually active will get HPV at some time in their life without HPV vaccination. Eight out of ten people will get HPV at some point in their lives.
  • HPV Can Cause Six Types of Cancer: While most HPV infections will go away on their own, infections that don’t go away can cause certain types of cancer such as cervical, mouth, and throat cancer. Other, less common, forms of cancer related to HPV include vulvar, anal and vaginal Cancer.
  • HPV Vaccination is Effective and Helps Prevent Cancer: HPV vaccination works very well. Research has shown that the vaccine provides close to 100% protection against infections and pre-cancers caused by the types of HPV in the vaccine. Cancer prevention decreases as age at vaccination increases.
  • Teens and Young Adults Should be Vaccinated, Too: HPV vaccination is also recommended for everyone through age 26 years, if not vaccinated already.
  • HPV Vaccination is Very Safe: Over 12 years of monitoring and research have shown that the HPV vaccine is very safe and effective.

More information about HPV is available at www.cancer.org/hpv and www.cdc.gov/hpv.

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