Doctors urge use of HPV vaccine

An update on dosing recommendations for HPV vaccine has the cancer prevention treatment back in the news. “In today’s world, anyone who is sexually active and who hasn’t been protected is going to get infected with the HPV virus,” says Dr. Greg Poland, head of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. “Most will do fine, but some will not heal and will develop cancer or cancer precursors.” To protect against cervical cancer and other cancers caused by HPV infection, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now recommending that 11- and 12-year-olds receive two doses of HPV vaccine at least six months apart. This is a change from the previously recommended three-dose series. The CDC says adolescents ages 13–14 also can receive the HPV vaccine on the new two-dose schedule. However, those who start the series later will continue to need three doses. In this Mayo Clinic Minute, Dr. Poland explains why the vaccine is most effective in preteens who haven’t had their first sexual experience. Jeff Olsen reports.

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