If you could protect your children now from a potential cancer later in life, would you? Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group says by ensuring children are vaccinated against HPV before they are sexually active, you can protect them long before they are exposed to the virus.
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HPV, or human papillomavirus, is nearly universal.
"Essentially, every sexually active person in the U.S. will be infected with the virus," says Dr. Poland.
While most infections will resolve on their own, some may cause a variety of warts or cancer.
These cancers are preventable with a highly effective vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends two doses of the HPV vaccine for 11- and 12-year-old boys and girls.
"You can start as young as 9 years old. The typical time to give it is as you're entering into adolescence, in that 11-, 12-year-old time frame."
Dr. Poland says the point is to immunize and protect children before they become sexually active.
"There's a vaccine that will protect them from a lifelong infection, and it's safe and effective."