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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

HPV Vaccine Update

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus spread through sexual contact. Most of the time HPV has no symptoms so people do not know they have it or that they are passing it to others. Although there are approximately 40 types of genital HPV, types 16 and 18 are the most common types associated with about 70% of invasive cervical cancers and can be prevented with HPV vaccines.

Many studies have underscored the high rates of HPV in sexually active individuals. In fact, HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections worldwide and in the United States it is estimated that 24.9 million women aged 14 to 50 years are infected. Those studies suggest that adolescents and young women are the most vulnerable with high rates of infection seen shortly after the onset of sexual activity.

In spite of the encouragement to vaccinate girls after the age of nine, only one out of four girls has received all three HPV shots. If your daughter is not vaccinated, talk to your doctor, or better yet, make an appointment now!

Photo credit: otisarchives1
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.