Human PapillomaVirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) HPV infects approximately 14,100,000 people in United States, 49% of which are aged 15-24.
In Connecticut, since 2007, HPV vaccine is free (see Connecticut Vaccine Program- CVP) for all children and teens who meet the criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice: males and females 9-18 years-old. You can visit the website of the Connecticut Department of Public Health for more information.
Routine vaccination with HPV vaccine is provided to girls and boys at age 11 or 12 years; but the vaccine can be administered to girls or boys as young as age 9 years.
The vaccine consists of 3-dose schedule at 0, 2 and 6 calendar months. The cycle needs to be completed for being really efficacious.
Most HPV infections are asymptomatic, unrecognized, or subclinical. HPV types 16 and 18 are oncogenic, or high-risk HPV types, and are the cause of cervical cancers. They are also associated with other anogenital cancers in men and women, including penile, vulva, vaginal, and anal cancer, as well a subset of oropharyngeal cancers. HPV types 6 and 11, instead, are nononcogenic, or low-risk HPV types , and they are the cause of genital warts and recurrent respiratory papillomatosis.
There is no treatment for HPV but only treatment for related health problems. But there is a way to prevent HPV infections in men and woman: vaccination! HPV vaccine is more efficacious if given before become sexually active.