Most people (regardless of gender) will be infected with at least one type of the human papilloma virus at some point in their lives. There are ~14 million new infections in the US each year and nearly 80 million people are currently infected. Infection is most common in the teen years and early 20’s. Most will never know that they’ve been infected.
This virus can lead to cancer. Each year an estimated 26,000 new cancers are attributed to HPV with 9,000 of those in men. The different types of cancer caused by HPV include cancers of the head and neck, cervix, penis, anus, vulva, and vagina. HPV also causes genital warts, which can lead to painful removal of warts and other complications.
The great news is there is a vaccine that protects against 9 strains of HPV most likely to cause cancer and warts. The vaccine is recommended at the pediatric well child visits between ages 11-12 years. At this age, the body makes the best response to the vaccine, which means that if it’s given on time, people will have the best protection against this cancer causing virus. Here are a few more things to know: Read full post »