Advanced Pediatrics Recommends HPV Immunization

New Information on HPV Immunization

Several studies have recently been published regarding HPV immunization.

The key findings are:
  • The HPV vaccine is safe
  • It does, in fact, prevent genital warts
  • It can save several hundred lives a year from cervical (and oral) cancer
  • It can reduce the number of positive PAP smears
  • But, the lives saved from cervical cancer depend on women continuing to have regular PAP smears, even if they get vaccinated, after they begin sexual activity.

HPV is the Human Papilloma Virus, the virus that causes warts.  A few of the many, many types of HPV cause most of the cases of cervical cancer in women.  Four of these types are in the HPV immunization.

The best strategy for HPV prevention is to make sure the vaccine is active during the peak time of risk.  In the United States, that peak risk time is ages 20-29, but there is clearly a rise in onset of HPV infections in ages 14-19.

An important article published in the December issue of Pediatrics (http://tinyurl.com/ycaw7tn) finds that in girls ages 14-19 in the United States, the chance of being infected with HPV was 18.3%, close to 20%!

The chance of developing HPV skyrockets after age 20, reaching rates of 60-80% amongst Americans by age 30.

An important remaining question is how long the HPV immunization lasts.  Recent reports secure that period to at least 5 years, but there are early indicators that the protection may actually last for a lifetime.  How so?  It turns out that after immunization, exposure to the virus acts like a booster.  If that really happens with HPV, the protection set up by the immunization series could last for many decades.

Over the last year or two, Advanced Pediatrics had issued concerns about the possibility of protection from HPV immunization only lasting 3 years, and further, that the actual benefit might be quite minimal.

These recent studies, however, are convincing. 

Therefore, effective immediately, Advanced Pediatrics is recommending
that girls begin HPV immunization before onset of any sexual activity, 
including oral sex, but no later than age 15.  

For girls ages 15-22, who have not yet been immunized against HPV, 
we also recommend they be immunized.

The comments contained in this electronic source of information do not constitute and are not designed to imply that they constitute any form of individual medical advice. The information provided is purely for informational purposes only and not relevant to any person's particular medical condition or situation. If you have any medical concerns about yourself or your family please contact your physician immediately. In order to provide our patients the best uninfluenced information that science has to offer,we do not accept samples of drugs, advertising tchotchkes, money, food, or any item from outside vendors.

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