HPV

Federal health advisers say women can now consider three options when it's time for their cervical cancer screening tests. The influential group, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, has expanded its recommendations for this potentially lifesaving exam.

The new recommendations are published in the latest issue of JAMA.

Human papillomavirus infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives.

But fewer than 60 percent of Florida children are getting vaccinated – earning the state a “D” grade from the CDC.

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HPV vaccination rates are some of the lowest throughout the country including in Orange County.

Each year, about 31,000 men and women in the U.S. are diagnosed with a cancer caused by an infection from the human papillomavirus, or HPV. It's the most common sexually transmitted virus and infection in the U.S.

In women, HPV infection can lead to cervical cancer, which leads to about 4,000 deaths per year. In men, it can cause penile cancer. HPV also causes some cases of oral cancer, cancer of the anus and genital warts.

A campaign is currently underway in Florida to educate parents about a childhood vaccine that can prevent cancers associated with the sexually-transmitted human papillomavirus, or HPV, in adulthood.

When it comes to getting the HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer, teens below the poverty line are doing better than the rest.

Among teenage girls ages 13 to 17 whose total family income was less than the federal poverty level for their family size, 67.2 percent have received the first dose of the human papillomavirus vaccine, compared to 57.7 percent for those at or above the poverty line. For teen boys, it's 51.6 percent compared to 39.5 percent.

Kristen Forbes EVE Foundation

 

Kristen Forbes died in 2008, just a year after she was diagnosed with cervical cancer caused by a virus.

Her story is one of five being shared by filmmakers Tuesday during a screening of “Someone you Love: The HPV Epidemic” at the Moffitt Cancer Center.

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Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections. It can also cause cancer.

Mary Shedden/WUSF

Florida lags behind the rest of the country in vaccinating children for the human papillomavirus. 

Part of the problem started eight years ago, when the HPV vaccine was introduced as a way to prevent a sexually transmitted infection that researchers knew was a major cause of cervical cancer and other disease.

But the shots are recommended for 11- and 12-year-old children. And talking about a vaccine tied to sexual activity made some parents and pediatricians squirm.

UPDATED 7/8 with University Beat audio report and additional quotes.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, over half of American girls ages 13 to 17 have received at least one dose of the vaccination to protect against the human papillomavirus (HPV) - and it's a rate that decreases over the needed second and third doses.

The human papillomavirus is a big cause of mouth and throat cancers, and those cancers have been getting more and more common.

So researchers asked: Could brushing and flossing make a difference?

It looks like the answer is yes, at least when it comes to being infected with oral HPV.

People with poor oral health are more likely to have an oral HPV infection, according to research from the the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston.

Michael Wilson / Lakeland Ledger

Even though the CDC says the HPV vaccination is even more effective than expected, many parents still aren’t getting their children vaccinated. Doctors say cost can be issue, since insurance doesn’t always cover the series of the three shots, the Lakeland Ledger reports. Other parents simply opt out of all vaccines for their children. Meanwhile, doctors insist the vaccine is safe, and is the key to preventing thousands of cases of cervical cancer. 

A vaccine against human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection and the cause of almost all cervical cancer — is dramatically reducing the prevalence of HPV in teenage girls.

The first vaccine against HPV, Merck's Gardasil, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2006. Cerverix, from GlaxoSmithKline, was approved in 2009.

Magic Johnson did it for HIV. Katie Couric did it for colon cancer. And Angelina Jolie did it for double  mastectomy.

As public health officials well know, there is no substitute for a celebrity to get out your message on prevention. There hasn't really been a face for prevention of cervical cancer through vaccination for the human papilloma virus, or HPV.

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While pneumonia is one of the top causes of death for seniors, only about half of Florida’s Hispanic seniors were vaccinated in 2011, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. Experts say many Hispanics don’t know about the vaccine or don’t understand it; they recommend public awareness campaigns that model the multilingual push for flu shots.