I took notes at the Nevada Family Medicine meeting when expert Dr. Trudy Larson spoke about HPV.
Here are the take-home points…
Who gets HPV?
- 80 % of adults have a strain of HPV.
- “HPV happens.”
- There are 40 subtypes of HPV.
- HPV affects the base of the mucosal surface (cervix, mouth, anus) and causes abrasions.
- Once the HPV is in place, the vaccine doesn’t work well. Prevention is the key! 80 million Americans infected.
- Most common in teens and early 20s.
- Most people don’t know they have HPV, because the body CAN clear it.
- We cannot predict WHO will be chronically infected. Again, prevention is key.
HPV is our second cancer vaccine. The first one is the hepatitis B vaccine which decreases liver cancer. Hepatitis B vaccines are given to newborns. The HPV vaccine cannot cause cancer. The vaccine helps the body make antibodies to HPV.
Is the HPV vaccine safe? Yes! They may get redness at the injection site just like with every other injection. The HPV vaccine should not be given to those with yeast allergy. The vaccine is made of proteins, no virus. So, it only generates antibodies to HPV, and cannot cause it.
What is the impact of HPV vaccine?
- Decreased HPV found on cervical exam by 68%.
- Decreased anogenital lesions by 51%.
There’s a herd effect which means that when some people are UNvaccinated, the ones who are vaccinated decrease the chance that the UNvaccinated will be infected.
HPV antibodies are at a significant level 10 years after vaccine given. So, the vaccine, although given at a young age, lasts through adolescence and early adulthood which (as a parent and physician) are most likely the “risky years.”
http://www.CDC.gov is the best source for vaccine information.