Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV (human papillomavirus) is an infection nearly 85 percent of people will get at some point in their life. For most, this virus will go away on its own. But for some, the infection won’t clear and may cause certain types of cancer years later. HPV related cancers include: cervical, vaginal, vulvar, anal, penile, and throat cancer.
Keeping your child safe and healthy is one of your greatest concerns as a parent. So, what if you could help prevent your child from getting cancer when they’re older? You can – by getting them vaccinated against HPV. Below is a list of questions some parents may have about the HPV virus.
Why be concerned about HPV?
- HPV infections are very common. Nearly everyone will get HPV at some point in their lives.
- For most people, HPV clears on its own, but for some, HPV can lead to HPV related cancers.
- HPV often has no signs or symptoms, making it easier to pass and easier to get.
- Preventing cancer is better than treating it. HPV vaccination prevents infections that cause cancer.
- Watch Jon's story of being diagnosed with HPV-related throat cancer. His wife Kris now advocates all children get vaccinated for HPV. (video credits: IA HHS)
Who should be vaccinated?
- Both girls and boys should get the HPV vaccine.
- The ideal time to get this vaccine is 11-12 years of age. The earlier kids get the vaccine, the more effective it is.
- Everyone through age 26 should get the HPV vaccine if not fully vaccinated already.
- Review the HPV vaccination schedule recommendations from the CDC.
What can you do?
- Talk to your provider about the HPV vaccine.
- Your child may not be sexually active now, but like seat belts and bike helmets, it is important to protect your child from risk later in life.
- HPV vaccine is available at most provider offices and at Black Hawk County Public Health.
Is the HPV Vaccine free?
- The Vaccines for Children (VFC) program helps families of eligible children who might not otherwise have access to vaccines. The program provides vaccines at no cost to children ages 18 years and younger who are uninsured, Medicaid- eligible, or American Indian/Alaska Native. To learn more, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/programs/vfc/
- If you have insurance, contact your insurance company to see if the HPV vaccine is covered.