HPV vaccine is not as popular as researchers say it should be

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SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- Mom, Danielle Schwartz-Safko, is usually in the driver's seat when it comes to her kids, but when it came to the HPV vaccine, her 13-year-old son Logan didn't need any direction. He wanted to get it!

"I'm glad I got it,” said Logan. “I don't really want all those STD’s in my system."

The human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the U.S.

It can cause several types of cancers in men and women.

According to new research from the Moffitt Cancer Center however, the HPV vaccine isn't as popular as it should be, especially among boys.

"It feels we have fallen short a little bit," said Susan Vadaparampil, PhD., professor at Moffitt Cancer Center.

Vadaparampil says in the U.S. only 38 percent of girls have completed all three doses of the vaccination, and for boys it's only 14 percent.

"We would probably do a lot better if everybody was on the same page in terms of vaccine benefits, being comfortable with discussing the vaccine and seeing how there is potential to prevent cancer," said Vadaparampil.

Research showed some doctors didn't recommend the vaccine because they were hesitant to have the "birds and bees" talk with kids.

"Bringing up a vaccine that's about a virus that's potentially sexually transmitted is a difficult topic at any age group," said Vadaparampil.

That's not an issue for Dr. Marcy Solomon Baker, from Baycare Medical Group. She says it's all about the approach.

"Roll it in with their sixth and seventh grade immunizations, their middle school immunizations,” said Baker. “I don't think you really have to get into detail with an 11-year-old about why we're giving this vaccine."

Dr. Baker is proactive when it comes to immunizations, like the HPV vaccine.

"We have a vaccine against cancer,” said Dr. Baker. :Why would you not want to give it to your child?"

According to the National Cancer Institute, widespread vaccination has the potential to reduce cervical cancer deaths around the world by as much as two-thirds.

The advisory committee on immunizations recommends the HPV vaccine for both girls and boys.

When the vaccine first became available to the public it was an
"option" for boys, so insurance coverage was an issue, that is not the case anymore.

Logan hopes more kids will get the vaccine instead of "passing" on it.

"It was just another shot; basically all of the shots are the same," said Logan.

REPORT #2172

BACKGROUND: Human Papillomavirus or HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the U.S. that is spread through sexual contact. More than 50-percent of sexually active men and women are infected with HPV at some point in their lives. There are around 40 different types of HPV and most HPV infections show no symptoms at all so people do not realize anything is wrong. About 20-million people in the United States are infected with the virus. HPV is taken very seriously because some types of HPV can cause cervical cancer in women and other types of cancer in both men and women. Some other forms of the virus can cause genital warts and warts in the upper respiratory tract.
(Source: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/hpv/)

TREATMENT: Every year about 10,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3,700 die from the disease. It is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women around the world. The HPV vaccine is a vaccine that is meant to protect against four major types of HPV. These include two types that cause 70-percent of cervical cancer and two types that cause 90-percent of genital warts. The HPV vaccine can prevent most genital warts and most cases of cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is recommended for girls starting at the age of 11-years-old. Girls and women who did not receive the vaccine when they were younger can also receive it through 26 years of age. The vaccine may also be given to males aged 9 to 26 years old. The younger the girl is when receiving the vaccine (before first sexual contact) the more likely the vaccine will be able to prevent almost 100-percent of diseases caused by HPV. The vaccine is given as a three dose series.

1st Dose: Now
2nd Dose: 2 months after Dose 1
3rd Dose: 6 months after Dose 1

The HPV vaccination is covered by most insurance policies, and if you do not have insurance, according to the CDC, it is $130 for one dose and $390 for the full series.
(Source: http://www.webmd.com/children/vaccines/hpv-vaccine-what-you-need-know?page=2)

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Lisa Patterson
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