Back to Top Skip to main content

Preteens, teens target audience for HPV vaccine

Students from the Oceanside Unified School District enjoy team-building and mentoring activities at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Health care experts recommend the HPV vaccine for preteens and teens to protect against human papillomavirus, which is linked to several types of cancer. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Drake Nickels) Students from the Oceanside Unified School District enjoy team-building and mentoring activities at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California. Health care experts recommend the HPV vaccine for preteens and teens to protect against human papillomavirus, which is linked to several types of cancer. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Drake Nickels)

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Public Health

Donna, the mother of three children, kept hearing about a vaccine that health care experts recommend for preteens and teens. With her own twins approaching middle-school age, she wanted to learn more. So she did some research on the vaccine for human papillomavirus, or HPV.

Donna discovered the HPV vaccine is safe and has few, if any, mild side effects. It's most effective for adolescents before they're exposed to the virus. Most significantly, Donna learned the vaccine is almost 100 percent effective in preventing HPV infections, which eventually may cause several types of cancer.

Armed with this knowledge, Donna got her twins vaccinated at their local military treatment facility. She said she'll also ensure her youngest child receives the vaccine in a few years, as recommended.

"This wasn't a difficult decision for me at all," said Donna, whose real name is not being used to protect her family's privacy. "The HPV vaccine is part of preventive health care."

HPV is very common, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 79 million Americans have at least one of about 120 different HPV strains. The virus spreads through intimate, skin-on-skin contact.

Nearly 14 million new cases of HPV infection occur every year, with about half of all new infections among 15- to 24-year-olds, said Dr. Bruce McClenathan, the medical director of the Defense Health Agency Immunization Health Care Branch's South Atlantic Region Vaccine Safety Hub, Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“HPV can cause many different types of cancer," said Air Force Lt. Col. Ruth Brenner, deputy chief of the DHA's Immunization Health Care Branch. “For successful cancer prevention, people need to receive the vaccine before they’re exposed to the virus.”

McClenathan said studies have shown the vaccine caused HPV infection rates to decline 64 percent among teenaged girls ages 14 to 19, and 34 percent among women ages 20 to 24.

Usually, people don't exhibit any signs or symptoms of an HPV infection, according to the CDC. Also, most don’t develop health problems related to HPV, and the virus typically goes away on its own after a couple of years.

But there’s no way to predict who will clear the virus and who won’t, McClenathan said. If an HPV infection persists, it eventually may cause genital warts – and worse. Almost all cervical cancer is HPV-related, he said.

“At least we have the Pap smear as a good test for cervical cancer,” McClenathan said. “With other HPV-related cancers, there really aren’t any good screening tests.”

About 90 percent of all anal cancers, 72 percent of all throat cancers, and 1 percent of all vaginal and vulvar cancers are also linked to HPV, he said. So are about 71 percent of penile cancers.

“The HPV vaccine is a very effective cancer-preventing vaccine," McClenathan said. “Widespread vaccination for HPV would have huge potential to reduce many types of cancer.”

Only one HPV vaccine, Gardasil 9, currently is used, McClenathan said. The vaccine is recommended for girls and boys as young as age 9, and women and men up to age 26. Recently, the Food and Drug Administration approved expansion of the vaccine to adults up to age 45, McClenathan said.

For HPV vaccination of service members, the Department of Defense follows guidelines published by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

“Medical providers should have frank discussions with their patients about whether this vaccine is appropriate for them,” Brenner said.

TRICARE covers the HPV vaccine as recommended by the CDC. More information about the HPV vaccine can be found here.

You also may be interested in...

Mononucleosis

Infographic
7/1/2019
Mononucleosis

A specimen is tested for mononucleosis at the medical clinic on Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota (U.S. Air Force photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Influenza

Infographic
7/1/2019
Adminstration of a seasonal flu vaccination. (U.S. Navy photo)

Adminstration of a seasonal flu vaccination. (U.S. Navy photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Zika

Infographic
7/1/2019
Zika

Anopheles merus mosquito. (CDC photo by James Gathany)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Psittacosis

Infographic
7/1/2019
Psittacosis

Green-winged Macaw. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Cyclosporiasis

Infographic
6/1/2019
Cyclosporiasis

Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis in a U.S. Air Force Training Population, Joint Base San Antonio–Lackland, TX, 2018 While bacteria and viruses are the usual causes of gastrointestinal disease outbreaks, 2 Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA)– Lackland, TX, training populations experienced an outbreak of diarrheal illness caused by the parasite Cyclospora cayetanensis in June and July 2018. Cases were identified from outpatient medical records and responses to patient questionnaires.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Female infertility

Infographic
6/1/2019
Female infertility

Female infertility, active component service women, U.S. Armed Forces, 2013–2018 This report presents the incidence and prevalence of diagnosed female infertility among active component service women. During 2013–2018, 8,744 active component women of childbearing potential were diagnosed with infertility for the first time, resulting in an overall incidence of 79.3 cases per 10,000 person-years (p-yrs).

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Norovirus

Infographic
6/1/2019
Norovirus

Norovirus Outbreak in Army Service Members, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, May 2018 In May 2018, an outbreak of gastrointestinal illnesses due to norovirus occurred at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. The outbreak lasted 14 days, and a total of 91 cases, of which 8 were laboratory confirmed and 83 were suspected, were identified.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Ambulatory Visits, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Infographic
5/1/2019
Ambulatory Visits

Ambulatory Visits, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This report documents the frequencies, rates, trends, and characteristics of ambulatory healthcare visits of active component members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps during 2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens

Infographic
5/1/2019
Absolute and relative morbidity burdens

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable To Various Illnesses and Injuries, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This annual summary uses a standard disease classification system (modified for use among U.S. military members) and several healthcare burden measures to quantify the impacts of various illnesses and injuries among members of the active component of the U.S. Armed Forces in 2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Hospitalizations, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018

Infographic
5/1/2019
Hospitalizations

Hospitalizations, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces, 2018 This report documents the frequencies, rates, trends, and distributions of hospitalizations of active component members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps during calendar year 2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Absolute and Relative Morbidity Burdens Attributable to Various Illnesses and Injuries, Non-Service Member Beneficiaries of the Military Health System, 2018

Infographic
5/1/2019
Morbidity Burdens

The current report represents an update and provides a summary of care provided to non-service members in the MHS during calendar year 2018. Healthcare burden estimates are stratified by direct versus outsourced care and across 4 age groups of healthcare recipients.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Heat Illness

Infographic
4/1/2019
Heat Illness

This report summarizes reportable medical events of heat illness as well as heat illness-related hospitalizations and ambulatory visits among active component service members during 2018 and compares them to the previous 4 years. Episodes of heat stroke and heat exhaustion are summarized separately.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

Infographic
4/1/2019
Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

Each year, the MSMR summarizes the numbers, rates, trends, risk factors, and locations of occurrences of exertional heat injuries, including exertional rhabdomyolysis. This report includes the data for 2014–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Exertional Hyponatremia

Infographic
4/1/2019
Exertional Hyponatremia

Each year, the MSMR summarizes the numbers, rates, trends, risk factors, and locations of occurrences of exertional heat injuries, including exertional rhabdomyolysis. This report includes the data for 2014–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health

Lyme Disease

Infographic
4/1/2019
Lyme Disease

Each year, the MSMR summarizes the numbers, rates, trends, risk factors, and locations of occurrences of exertional heat injuries, including exertional rhabdomyolysis. This report includes the data for 2014–2018.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch | Epidemiology and Analysis | Medical Surveillance Monthly Report | Public Health
<< < 1 2 3 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 3

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.