A New Report From the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Has Stated That HPV Vaccine Coverage in the US is Too Low
Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer, is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the US. The virus comes in over 150 forms, and approximately 4 of these can be caught through direct skin-to-skin contact during all types of sex.
Some forms of the virus, such as HPV-6 and HPV-11, only cause minor conditions, such as genital warts. The highest risk forms of HPV however, HPV-16 and HPV-18, account for over 70% of cases of cervical cancer and over 5% of all cancer cases world wide.
There are two vaccines that are currently available for HPV. One of them, Cervarix, protects against forms of HPV that cause cervical cancer, whilst the other vaccine, Gardasil, also protects against forms of HPV that cause anal, vulvar and vaginal cancers and genital warts.
It is recommended that boys and girls aged 11-12 years old receive the vaccine, preferably before the become sexually active and have been exposed to a risk of contracting any forms of the virus.
The CDC estimates that in 2013, only 57% of girls and 35% of boys aged 13-17 received one or more doses of the vaccine in the US.
The CDC did however find that HPV vaccination coverage increased among girls between 2012-13, from 53.8% to 57.3%, although only a third received the complete three doses. Teenage boys saw a greater increase in vaccination coverage, from 20.8% to 34.6%. The coverage of young boys remains comparably low to that of young girls.
There are numerous reasons as to why parents chose not to have their children vaccinated against HPV, with some expressing concerns that it will encourage their children to engage in promiscuous and unsafe sexual behavior. Other reasons include worries about the safety of the vaccine.
A national US objective is to reach coverage levels of 80% amongst teenagers for the HPV vaccine.
Read more about it here: CDC: HPV vaccination coverage among teens remains ‘unacceptably low’