National Immunization Awareness Month: Parents encouraged to vaccinate children for HPV

Planned Parenthood is encouraging parents to get their children – both boys and girls aged 11-12 – vaccinated for the human papillomavirus (HPV).

“As a doctor, I know how important recommendations are to parents when it comes to vaccines,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president of external medical affairs, Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “The HPV vaccine is recommended for adolescents aged 11-12 and approved for use up to age 26. Research continues to show that the HPV vaccine is safe and highly effective in preventing HPV-related cancers.”
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Most of Planned Parenthood health centers provide the HPV vaccine (more than 550 of the more than 700 health centers provide it), and in 2012, Planned Parenthood health centers provided nearly 40,000 HPV vaccinations.

The only way you can totally protect yourself against HPV is to avoid any sexual activity that involves genital contact. If you are having any kind of sexual contact:

  • Get the HPV vaccine. Talk to your doctor or health care professional to learn more about getting vaccinated.
  • Use a condom. Condoms may lower the risk of HPV if used correctly every time you have sex. However, HPV can be transmitted from skin-to-skin contact and it can infect areas that are not covered by a condom — so condoms do not fully protect against HPV.
  • Get a regular Pap test starting at age 21. While a Pap test doesn’t directly diagnose HPV, it can look for abnormal cells (that are caused by HPV) in the cervix before the cells become pre-cancer or cancer.

  • via press release