Document ContainDear Parent or Guardian:
Indiana Code 20-34-4-3 requires the Indiana State Department of Health to provide information on the link between cancer and the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the vaccination that can protect your child from HPV related cancers later in life. Each year, HPV causes more than 26,000 new cases of cancer in both men and women. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection and is spread by skin-to-skin sexual contact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that based on recent studies, HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active people will get it during their life-time.1 Most HPV infections cause no symptoms and go away on their own. However, infection with the virus can lead to cervical cancer in women. It can also cause other oral and genital cancers in men and women. HPV also causes genital warts.
Vaccination is the best way to prevent HPV infection and associated cancers that present later in life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Physicians, all boys and girls ages 11 or 12 years should get vaccinated.2 3By vaccinating at this age, preteens will be protected before any exposure to the virus occurs. We also know the vaccine produces a better immune response at this age. There are two vaccines available to protect against HPV infection. The HPV vaccines are given in three doses over six months. It is important to get all three shots. The HPV vaccine is safe to give at the same time as other recommended vaccines. Older teens and young adults can receive the vaccine through age 26.
The HPV vaccines are very safe and highly effective. Both vaccines offer protection against HPV types 16 & 18. The vaccine is 93% effective in preventing precancers of the cervix caused by these types of HPV. One of the vaccines also offers protection from genital warts. The vaccines offer long-lasting protection from HPV. Current studies show that HPV protection from the vaccine lasts at least eight years. There is no evidence of waning protection after that time. These vaccines have also been studied very carefully for safety. Preteens and teens should always sit or lie down for about 15 minutes after receiving any vaccines to prevent fainting.
The vaccine does not protect against all types of HPV known to cause cervical cancer. It is important that women continue to receive routine cervical cancer screenings (pap test). It is also important to follow-up on all abnormal results. The Pap test can find abnormal cells on the cervix, so that they can be removed before cancer develops. There are no tests currently available to find HPV in other parts of the body.
Please contact your healthcare provider if you have questions about the HPV vaccine. Questions may be directed to the Indiana State Department of Health Immunization Program at (800)701-0704.
For more information on HPV and the vaccine, please visit:
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) HPV website: http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/default.htm
CDC HPV Vaccine Website: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/hpv/
Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) HPV Website: http://www.vaccineinformation.org/hpv/
Yours in Health,
The Indiana State Department of Health Immunization Division
1 http://www.cdc.gov/hpv/whatishpv.html
2 http://www.cdc.gov/std/HPV/STDFact-HPV.htm
3 https://www2.aap.org/immunization/illnesses/hpv/hpv.htmler