DVIDS – News – How You Can Prevent This Cancer-Causing Sexually Transmitted Infection

If you’re in the military, should you get the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine if you haven’t already?

The proof says YES – and the sooner, the better.

Why? Because HPV can cause cancer years after exposure or resolve itself without symptoms, but who wants to take that risk? The virus is responsible for about 40,000 cases of cancer each year, almost all of which are preventable, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States. According to the CDC, there were 43 million Americans with the HPV STI in 2018.

Although the infection rate is high, most cases of HPV go away on their own. If they don’t, HPV can lead to genital warts, or worse, cervical, vaginal, vulvar, and anal cancers in women, penile and anal cancers in men, and cancer of the back of the throat.

The HPV vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for individuals ages 9-45. The CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) routinely recommends the vaccine for individuals ages 11-26, making it a vaccine that both parents and service personnel should consider.

Discuss your HPV status on PHAs

The HPV vaccine is not currently required in the military. The FDA approved the vaccine in 2006, so many recruits may have already been vaccinated, which is one reason it’s not offered in basic training.

“However, we recommend that health care providers discuss HPV vaccination with service personnel during their annual periodic health assessments and at any other clinical visit, as appropriate,” says Dr. Bruce McClenathan, medical director of the Immunization Healthcare Division, Vaccine Safety Hub in the South Atlantic, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“Many service workers may already have been vaccinated against HPV, so they may want to check their child/adolescent vaccination records or ask their parents,” McClenathan suggested.

“If there is no evidence of previous HPV vaccine receipt, I would recommend all service personnel 26 years of age or younger to discuss the HPV vaccine with their supplier and ask to begin the series. Why a vaccine pass on that cancer can be prevented?” he said.

The number of injections needed for a full vaccination depends on your age. Up to three doses may be needed for the vaccine to be fully effective, but many people who start the vaccination course do not finish it.

“Catch up HPV vaccination is recommended for all individuals through age 26 who have not been adequately vaccinated,” McClenathan added.

Jennifer Ritschl, a nurse with the IHD in Fort Bragg, acknowledges the stigma associated with STDs: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions.”

For military personnel and beneficiaries, “we need people who understand that there is no judgment: we are here to help.”

Other criteria for vaccination

ACIP says those between the ages of 26 and 45 may want to get the vaccine after talking to their health care providers, even though they’ve probably already been exposed to HPV.

Breastfeeding women can get the vaccine. There is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility.

However, women who are pregnant should not receive the vaccine. If they receive an initial dose and then discover they are pregnant, additional doses may be delayed until after pregnancy.

Men who have sex with men should also consider getting vaccinated: HPV can be spread during anal and oral sex, as well as skin-to-skin contact.

The CDC emphasizes that HPV can be spread even if an infected person has no visible signs or symptoms.

How do you know you are infected? Maybe not, so again, vaccination is the way to go.

The most common side effects of vaccination are usually mild, such as a sore arm from the shot, and go away quickly, the FDA says.

Routine Pap smears for women ages 21 to 65 can help prevent cervical cancer in people who have not been vaccinated for HPV.

CDC also recommends using latex condoms properly every time you have sex. This can reduce the chance of getting HPV. But HPV can infect areas not covered by a condom, meaning you may not be fully protected with condoms alone, CDC says.

HPV Vaccinations for Children and Adolescents

For children and adolescents returning to school, school sports exams, and immunizations, “I strongly recommend taking advantage of those appointments to get the HPV vaccine if the patient has not completed the vaccine series,” McClenathan said.

There may be some parental hesitation about getting the HPV vaccine, Ritschl said.

“The current reason I hear most often is that parents decide to delay HPV vaccination until their child has received the required vaccinations,” she said. This is “because COVID-19 has negatively impacted immunizations across the board. Many patients have not been seen physically in the clinic for months or even a year,” she said.

“Many parents also focus on the aspect of STD prevention and think that their child doesn’t need the vaccine because they’re not having sex. That’s a dangerous assumption,” Ritschl said. “We know that HPV is spread in more ways than just during ‘sex’, and while we want to prevent genital warts, this vaccine is mainly about preventing cancer.”

McClenathan said: “We know that the vaccine is much more effective when given before any potential exposure to HPV. In addition, choosing to give the vaccine before the age of 15 also allows you to complete the series with just two injections instead of three.”

But there are still parents who are concerned about the vaccine’s adverse effects, Ritschl noted.

“These concerns are often unfounded, as they are based on information from untrustworthy sources, such as social media or word of mouth,” said Ritschl. “We discuss the proven benefits of the HPV vaccine with these parents and provide them with credible resources such as the DHA Human Papillomavirus website and the CDC website.”

McClenathan said, “As both a vaccinologist and parent of an adolescent, I would unreservedly recommend the HPV vaccine. My own child has been given this vaccine – that’s how strongly I believe in the vaccine and its ability to prevent cancer safely and effectively.” associated with HPV infection.”

Shooting Date: 08.04.2021 Post Date: 08.09.2021 09:09 Story ID: 402611 Location: US Web Views: 2 Downloads: 0

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