HPV vaccinations pushed as STD prevention, even for preteens

Human papilloma­virus (HPV) has become the nation’s most common sexually transmitted disease, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that it is extremely difficult to avoid getting some form of it if you are sexually active.

With the disease nearing epidemic status, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a two-dose vaccination for children, beginning as early as nine years of age, with teenagers 14 and up getting a third shot in the series.

HPV infections are the cause of over 30,000 cancer cases in both men and women every year; these include cervical, vaginal, penile, and oral cancers. The vaccinations are said to prevent the majority of the cancers being discovered and, therefore, the push is to begin the preventative treatment well before individuals become sexually active.

The various types of HPV-caused cancers differ in men and women for a number of reasons. Women tend to develop antibodies when exposed to the virus vaginally, and that, in turn, protects them from receiving a subsequent oral infection.

Men, on the other hand, seem to not develop the antibodies after exposure via the genitals and, thus, are five times more likely to develop the infection orally. An example is actor Michael Douglas, who shockingly announced four years ago that he contracted HPV through oral sex.

H/T: Washington Post

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