I've heard about the HPV vaccine for teenage girls. But I'm not sure my 14-year-old
daughter needs it because she's not sexually active. What should I do? – Lora
The HPV (human papillomavirus)
vaccine actually has the best chance of protecting against infection if the series
of shots is given before a person becomes sexually active. Here's
what doctors recommend:
For kids and teens ages 9–14, the HPV vaccine is given in two shots over
a 6- to 12-month period.
For teens and young adults (ages 15–26 in girls and 15–21 in boys),
it's given in three shots over a 6-month period. Young adults who are at higher risk
of getting infected can get it up to age 26.
Some strains of HPV that spread through sexual contact are known to cause cervical
cancer, as well as cancers of the penis,
vulva, mouth, and throat. Recent research suggests that HPV might even be linked
to cardiovascular disease in women.
HPV is extremely common, affecting more than half of sexually active people at
some point in their lives, often in their teens and twenties.
While a girl may not be sexually active now, she likely will be at some point in
her life. Girls may get HPV in their teenage or young adult years, and then develop
cancer years later.
It is now recommended that both girls and boys receive the HPV vaccine. The vaccine
will help to protect both guys and girls from genital
warts and HPV-related cancers.