Here is a staggering statistic:

Each year, the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) causes about 36,500 cases of cancer in the United States.

Of this total, more than half of these cases are women. HPV affects about 79 million Americans, including 14 million teenagers! HPV is the most common sexual infection in the United States.

An Insidious Enemy

When it comes to the health and safety of our children, we Virginians always have their well-being in mind. We want to help our children develop good and healthy habits and thrive in a safe environment. Of all the dangers, HPV is one of the most insidious ones.

There are more than 150 variants of the HPV virus, and many cause no symptoms at all. The HPV virus can lay dormant for YEARS before it may develop cancer in the bodies of people infected by it.

Virginia trails many other states when it comes to HPV vaccination. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends getting their HPV vaccine at age 11 to 12. The vaccine is most effective at this age. It protects them against the HPV virus when they become adults.

Some parents avoid the HPV vaccine because of the fear of needles, side effects, or the cost of the vaccine. Other parents fear that giving their kids the HPV vaccine will encourage them to have sex at an early age. But there is no real evidence of this.

But the biggest fear parents should have, is of their children contracting HPV and cancer. The HPV vaccine helps kids develop the defenses they need against the HPV virus once they become sexually active later in life.

The Six Types of Cancer the HPV Vaccine Prevents

There are many reasons why parents should get their children vaccinated against HPV. The main one is that the HPV vaccine prevents six types of cancer.

Cervical cancer - The HPV virus causes almost all cervical cancers in the United States. Every day, about five women receive a cervical cancer diagnosis.

HPV is responsible for over 11,000 cases of cervical cancer each year in the United States. Every year, 4,000 women die of cervical cancer.

Also, there are 196,000 cervical precancer cases each year in our Country. Treatment for cervical cancers and precancers may sometimes limit a person's ability to have children.

The HPV vaccine helps prevent cervical cancer. Infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 88% among teen girls. Infections with HPV types that cause most HPV cancers and genital warts have dropped 81% among young adult women. The percentage of cervical precancers in women with the HPV vaccine has fallen by 40%.

Throat Cancer – HPV can infect the mouth and throat and cause cancers of the back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils. HPV may cause 70% of throat cancers in the United States. This type of cancer affects 14,400 people per year in the United States, and it usually takes years to develop after HPV infection.

Cancer in the Anus – According to the National Cancer Institute, anal cancer cases have increased over several decades. Infection with HPV is the major risk factor for anal cancer. In 2021 alone, over 9,000 Americans developed anal cancer. HPV causes about 91% of these cases. Anal cancer is more common in women than men.

Vaginal/Vulvar Cancer – Approximately 5,000 American women develop these types of cancer every year (6,120 in the year 2021); HPV causes about 3,500 of them.

Penile Cancer – Over 1,300 American men develop penis cancer per year, and the HPV virus causes about 900 of these cases.

Choose Life. For Them

HPV vaccination could prevent more than 90% of cancers caused by HPV from ever developing. This is an estimated 33,000 cases in the United States every year.

Getting your kids vaccinated against HPV means choosing life. It also means you don't have to worry about them developing any of these cancers later in life. Is your child due for their next round of shots? One that they should get is the HPV vaccine.

The HPV vaccine requires two doses (three if they start at age 15 or older), six to twelve months apart. Both males and females can get the HPV vaccine. Still, it is most effective when given to girls before they become sexually active.

HPV vaccination is not recommended for everyone older than age 26 years. HPV provides less benefit for adults because they may already have HPV.

Don't wait. Talk to your doctor about the HPV vaccine, find a vaccine provider in your area, or search available vaccination events in Virginia. Our state also offers several programs to cover the cost of the HPV vaccine. Find out more here.

Life is short. Don't make it shorter. Choose life and get your kids vaccinated against HPV today.