More Than Half Of All Teens Got The HPV Vaccine

Photographed by Megan Madden
Vaccines, though sometimes scary to receive, have proven time and again to be one of the most effective ways to prevent life-threatening diseases, viruses, and some cancers. One such vaccine treats HPV (Human papillomavirus), a sexually transmitted disease that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states can cause cancer in the cervix, vulva, penis, vagina, anus, and throat.
As if those symptoms weren't concerning enough, the CDC reports that HPV is the most common STD in the United States, with approximately half of all Americans adults living with the disease. Each year, HPV will become cancerous for more than 30,000 people.
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For the past 10 years, doctors around the country have encouraged patients — specifically those ages 11 and 12 — to get the HPV vaccination, which is administered in two doses; and now, a new report from the CDC indicates that parents are heeding that advice.
The New York Times reports that last year 60% of tweens and teens received one or both doses of the HPV vaccine, a record high. To put things in perspective, the Times notes that fewer than 30% of adolescents received the vaccine when it was first introduced nearly a decade ago.
One reason compelling teenagers to receive the vaccine could be because the number of shots recommended decreased from three to two last year; however, the report indicates that only 43% currently finish receiving all of the vaccinations.
The vaccines aren't just for peace of mind, either. A 2016 study found that HPV infections in both teens and adults had dropped dramatically since the vaccine became available.
It's important to note that even with the shot, adults with cervixes should still schedule regular pap smears and/or HPV tests to screen for cancers and abnormalities.
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