HPV Vaccination Rates Low Among Teenagers

Lauren Santye, Assistant Editor
Published Online: Wednesday, January 18th, 2017
Despite the benefits of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, vaccination rates among teens and young adults in the United States remain low, with only 41% of girls and 28% of boys receiving the series of shots.

Findings from a study conducted by the CDC showed that HPV-caused cancers are on the rise, and an estimated 39,000 new cases occur in the United States per year, according to Grand Canyon News.

Recently, the CDC changed the guidelines for the HPV vaccine Gardasil 9, recommending that teens under 14 years receive 2 doses of the vaccine 6 months apart––the first for initial protection and second to keep the production of antibodies going. Teens and young adults 14 years and older should continue to receive the vaccine in 3 doses over a 6-month period.

Gardasil 9 was approved by the FDA in 2006, and protects against HPV strains that cause genital cancer for up to 10 years. However, the vaccine does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS, herpes, gonorrhea, or chlamydia, Grand Canyon News reported.

A large proportion of sexually active teens and adults will contract HPV at least once in their lives. The CDC recommends both preteens and teenagers be vaccinated before engaging in sexual activity.

Gardasil 9 has been shown to be most effective in individuals before the age of 14 years––when antibody development is the strongest. However, the CDC notes that teens and young adults up to 26 years can still benefit from the vaccine because it’s unlikely they will have been exposed to all of the HPV strains.

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