Since 2006, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that all 12-26 year old females receive a series of vaccines for genital human papillomavirus – the most common sexually transmitted virus in the Unites States. A new study published in the June 2013 “Journal of Infectious Diseases” has shown that the HPV virus has decreased 56 percent in females 14-19 years old since the introduction of the HPV vaccine for females in 2006.
Well guys, now you too can be protected from HPV. Since 2011, the CDC has added recommendations that all 12-21 year old males get vaccinated. Any other 21-26 year of males may also get vaccinated if they haven’t completed the 3-dose vaccine series for HPV. This includes men who have sex with men, HIV positive males or any male with a weakened immune system due to other illnesses, medications or HIV.
Why is the vaccine so important? In females, HPV causes almost all cervical cancers. The HPV vaccine is a powerful anti-cancer too! For males, the HPV vaccine prevents many anal, penile, mouth and throat cancers as well as genital warts. The vaccination for males may also provide indirect protection for females by reducing transmission of HPV.
Here’s the problem: Neither males or females are getting vaccinated enough for the vaccine to maximize its potential to reduce the burden of HPV-related cancers and disease. It’s an expensive vaccine that requires three shots over six months. Each shot costs around $180.
Here’s the good news: If you have the Student Health Insurance Plan, the HPV series is covered 100 percent! Don’t pass this up. Other insurance plans often cover all, or a significant amount of the cost for this vaccine. If you have a different insurance policy, I strongly encourage you to find out if the HPV vaccine is covered.
More good news: The Student Health Center provides the vaccine! If you want to receive the HPV vaccine or you just want more information about it, make an appointment with one of our Nurse Practitioners at the center.