DVIDS – News – How to prevent this carcinogenic sexually transmitted infection


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

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

Why? Because HPV can cause cancer years after exposure or resolve on its own with no symptoms, but who wants to take that risk? The virus is responsible for about 40,000 cancer cases each year, almost all of which are preventable, say the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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

Although the number of infections is high, most cases of HPV go away on their own. If not, HPV can lead to genital warts or, worse, cervical, vaginal, vulvar and anal cancers in women, penile and anal cancers in men and cancers of the throat.

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

Discuss your HPV status with PHAs

HPV vaccination is currently not mandatory in the military. The FDA approved the vaccine in 2006 so many recruits may already be vaccinated, which is one reason it isn’t offered in basic training.

“However, we recommend that providers discuss HPV vaccination with service members at their annual regular health assessments and any other required clinical visit,” said Dr. Bruce McClenathan, Medical Director of the Immunization Healthcare Division, South Atlantic Region Vaccine Safety Hub, in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

“Many service workers may already be vaccinated against HPV so they may want to review their childhood and adolescent vaccination reports or ask their parents,” suggested McClenathan.

“If there is no evidence of previous HPV vaccination, I would recommend all service personnel 26 years of age or younger to discuss the HPV vaccine with their provider and ask them to start the series. Why pass on a vaccine who can prevent cancer? ” he said.

The number of vaccinations required for a full vaccination depends on your age. Up to three doses may be required for the vaccine to be fully effective, but many people who start the series of vaccinations do not stop it.

“HPV catch-up vaccination is recommended for anyone up to the age of 26 who is not adequately vaccinated,” added McClenathan.

Acknowledging the stigma associated with STIs, Jennifer Ritschl, an IHD nurse at Fort Bragg, said, “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

According to ACIP, people between the ages of 26 and 45 may want to get the vaccine after speaking to their health care providers, even though they have likely already been exposed to HPV.

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

However, pregnant women should not be vaccinated. If they are given a first dose and then discover that they are pregnant, additional doses can be postponed until after the pregnancy.

Men who have sex with men should also consider vaccination: HPV can be transmitted through anal and oral sex, and through 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? You can’t, so vaccination is the way to go.

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

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

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

HPV vaccinations for children and adolescents

For children and adolescents going back to school, taking sports exams at school, and getting vaccinations, “I strongly recommend using these appointments to get the HPV vaccine if the patient hasn’t completed the series of vaccinations,” McClenathan said .

Parents may be reluctant to get the HPV vaccine, Ritschl said.

“The reason I hear the most now is that parents are choosing to postpone the HPV vaccination until their child has the required vaccinations,” she said. This is because “because COVID-19 has affected immunizations across the board. Many patients have not been seen in the clinic for several months or even a year,” she said.

“Many parents also rely on the aspect of STI prevention and think that their child does not need the vaccination because they are not having sex. That is a dangerous assumption,” said Ritschl. “We know that HPV isn’t just spread through ‘sex,’ and while we want to prevent genital warts, this vaccine is primarily about preventing cancer.”

McClenathan said, “We know that the vaccine is much more effective when given before possible HPV exposure. In addition, the decision to have the vaccine before April 15th allows for it.

But there are still parents who are concerned about the side effects of the vaccine, Ritschl noted.

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

McClenathan said, “As a vaccination specialist and parent of an adolescent, I would wholeheartedly recommend the HPV vaccine. My own child received this vaccine – that’s how much I believe in the vaccine and its ability to safely and effectively prevent cancer. “In the context of an HPV infection.”

Recording date: April 8th, 2021
Release Date: 08.09.2021 09:09
Story ID: 402611
Location: US

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