According to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, about 3.3% fewer Medicaid beneficiaries received one or more doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in 2022 than in 2021. The CDC also reported no increase in HPV vaccinations among American adolescents, the first time in the past decade. Furthermore, the lowest number of HPV vaccinations appears to be among uninsured people.
Surprisingly, the number of non-HPV vaccinations has increased to the rate it was before COVID-19 struck in 2020. The reason for this could be the high cost of the HPV vaccine compared to other vaccines. The HPV vaccine is more expensive than most other recommended vaccines for adolescents. And since many adolescents are uninsured, they cannot afford the HPV vaccine.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices of the CDC generally recommends HPV vaccinations for children starting at age 11 or 12 years old. In some cases, children as young as nine can begin getting the HPV vaccine. The CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for adolescents because it is the most effective way to help them avoid HPV infections and HPV-related cancers later in life, especially cervical cancer in women.
Most American pharmacies and health clinics offer the HPV vaccine to most eligible people. Talk to your doctor to discuss whether you or your child should get the vaccine.
Frequently Asked HPV Questions
What is HPV?
HPV (human papillomavirus) refers to a group of viruses containing over 100 different types, 40 transmitted by intimate skin-to-skin contact. When an HPV type infects the genital area, it is called genital HPV.
Who is susceptible to HPV?
American men and women are highly susceptible to genital HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. Roughly 79 million people in the United States live with HPV, whether they know it or not. Around 80% of women will become infected with HPV at least once.
How does HPV spread?
HPV typically spreads by having anal sex, oral sex, and vaginal sex. However, you do not need to have sexual intercourse to contract or transmit HPV. All that is required is intimate skin-to-skin contact, especially in the genital region. But if you take the proper safety precautions, such as wearing a condom, you can prevent the transmission.
What are the adverse effects of an HPV infection?
Most HPV-infected people do not experience any symptoms. Unfortunately, some HPV-infected people experience symptoms such as genital warts. The genital warts usually appear as one or more small cauliflower-shaped bumps on a portion of the genital area.
A healthy immune system can eradicate an HPV infection and possibly even genital warts after about two years. But for some unlucky people, the virus will remain in their bodies and lead to the development of life-threatening cancers like cervical cancer or other genital cancers.
The best thing to do is schedule regular pap tests and physical examinations with your doctor to detect signs of HPV infections before severe symptoms develop.