HPV or human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection to date. And while the body clears it naturally many times, it can lead to cancer when it doesn’t clear it. In fact, HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer.
There are thousands of cancer cases caused by HPC every single year. Furthermore, it can also cause cancer in the vagina, vulva, mouth, penis, and anus. So, how can you keep yourself safe against this infection?
One way is by getting the HPV vaccine which can prevent most cases.
The journal Pediatrics published a study that demonstrates how effective the vaccine is. Here’s a summary of that study taken from a blog post written by Claire McCarthy, MD from the Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publishing.
A study published in the journal Pediatrics underlined just how effective the vaccine is. Researchers studied women ages 13 to 26 between 2006 and 2017, looking at their protection against different strains of HPV. They studied women because initially the vaccine was given only to women, so we have the longest data about its effects in women. What they found was really encouraging. Not only did the vaccine seem to protect against the strains covered by the vaccine, but women who got it were less likely to be infected by other strains, showing that the vaccine has cross-reactivity against other strains of HPV.
Many families can’t stomach the fact that the HPV vaccine is inteded to prevent a sexually transmitted disease because they don’t want to accept that their offspring might have sex a bit prematurely. It makes sense that parents of eleven year olds (or the age when the vaccine is typically administered) might not want to understand why a child so young should be protected against a sexually transmitted infection. However, research shows that vaccinating early makes the most sense.
The vaccine can work best in the body if it’s given plenty of time before your offspring becomes sexually active. No one can predict when a young person will start having sex, and once a child becomes a teenager, it isn’t as simple to ensure that they go to the doctor to get the HPV vaccine. So, having your child, typically by age 11, although the earlest cases begin at 9, vaccinated early ensures their safety against the infection later on.
The main take-away from this post is that the HPV vaccine is a safe and effective vaccine that helps prevent cancer. Seeing as cancer is one of the most serious illnesses a person can get, why not take as many measures as possible to prevent it from happening?