A campaign is currently underway in Florida to educate parents about a childhood vaccine that can prevent cancers associated with the sexually-transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV, in adulthood.
The vaccine is recommended for girls and boys between 11 and 26 years old, said Alison Moriarty Daley with the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.
“Acquisition of the HPV virus happens pretty quickly after the initiation of sexual activity,” Daley said. “So that’s why it’s important to vaccinate early to prevent the virus before anyone’s exposed to it.”
Daley said the link between HPV and cervical cancer is irrefutable.
“We know that HPV is the cause of cervical cancer," she said. "And even just last year there were 12,900 new cases of cervical cancer and 4,100 deaths attributed to cervical cancer.”
HPV is also linked to certain cancers of the mouth, throat and genitals in both men and women.
The original recommendation of three doses of the HPV vaccine was amended in October to just two doses for children younger than age 15. Older teens and young adults still require three doses.
As many as 79 million Americans are currently thought to be infected with human papillomavirus.
Reporter Cyd Hoskinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @cydwjctnews