Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that infects both males and females and causes serious diseases. HPV is very common; nearly one in four Americans is currently infected and most people will be exposed to HPV at some time in their life. For some, HPV clears on its own. For others, HPV causes cancer, including cancers of the mouth, throat, anus and genitals – cervix and vulva in females, penis in males. There is no way to predict who will or won’t get cancer. Every year in the United States, HPV causes 30,700 cancers in men and women. Fortunately, there is a vaccine which prevents people from getting HPV and can prevent most of these cancers from occurring.
HPV vaccinations are very safe and very effective. More than 170 million doses have been given and there have been no serious safety concerns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children start the vaccine at age 11 or 12, but they can start as early as age 9. Vaccination at younger ages works better because the vaccines produce the strongest immune response at these ages. Girls and boys who start the series before their 15th birthday need only 2 doses of the vaccine. Teens and young adults who start the vaccine at age 15 or older need 3 doses of the HPV vaccine.
Boston Children’s Health Physicians is committed to protecting patients against HPV and HPV-related cancers. Over the last several years, the primary care offices of BCHP have been working to improve HPV vaccination rates. Many have done quality improvement projects, some have participated in national partnerships to improve HPV vaccination rates, and several have worked to educate all healthcare providers, staff members, and families on the importance of the HPV vaccine.
Numerous BCHP offices have had extraordinary growth in their HPV vaccination rates over the past year, with growth rates above the national average. These offices include: Academic General Pediatrics in Hawthorne, Eastchester Pediatrics, Briarcliff Pediatrics, Chappaqua Pediatrics, Pomona Pediatrics, Putnam Pediatrics, Pediatric Associates of Westchester, Croton Pediatrics, Orangetown Pediatrics, Central Avenue Pediatrics, Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine of New City, Orange Pediatrics, Bardonia Pediatrics and Children’s Medical Group of Greenwich. BCHP appreciates all of our offices who are committed to protecting their patients against cancer! BCHP