Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Parents PACK

January 2017


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Feature Article

Vaccination against HPV just got easier

Vaccine news can come in various forms — a new vaccine, a change to the number of doses, or a change to who should get it. As parents, it is important to keep up with the news and make sure our families are protected against vaccine-preventable diseases. Recently, this job got a bit easier for parents of adolescents.

Just the Vax Trivia Corner

Which vaccine, other than human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, prevents a form of cancer?
  1. Hepatitis A vaccine
  2. Influenza vaccine
  3. Hepatitis B vaccine
  4. Hepatitis B vaccine
See the Answer

Play Just the Vax, the Vaccine Education Center's trivia game, where you can find this question and others like it.
Play Just the Vax


Three ways to protect yourself and those you love from HPV

HPV can be fatal, and although it is most often a minor infection, almost everyone is infected at some point. Most people do not know when they are infected, and we do not know for whom the infection will progress to disease. For these reasons, everyone should do what they can to prevent themselves and those they love from the potential consequences of this infection:
  1. Get vaccinated. The HPV vaccine is safe and effective. Studies have shown that the vaccine protects against infection, cellular changes that are predictive of cancer, and anal and genital warts. Indeed, HPV infection rates in teenage girls dropped by two-thirds in the 10 years since the vaccine was introduced.
  2. Practice safe sex. Since HPV is transmitted from one person to another during sexual encounters, the best way to avoid infection is abstinence. You can also decrease the chance of infection by having sex with only one other person who is not infected with HPV. Condoms may also decrease the chance of getting or spreading HPV. However, because condoms do not cover all areas that can be infected, and because people do not always know they are infected, these methods are not 100 percent effective in preventing infection.
  3. Get regular Pap tests. Cervical cancer was once the most common cause of cancer in the U.S., but the Papanicolaou (Pap) test changed that. A Pap test detects whether or not cervical cells have begun to show changes consistent with the development of cancer (pre-cancerous changes). Cervical cancer most often develops 15 to 20 years after HPV infection. So while infection generally occurs in teenagers and young adults, cervical cancer is more common in women in their 40s and 50s. The Pap test gives doctors the ability to detect cervical cell changes early, leading to faster and more successful treatment. Learn more about Pap test guidelines for women of all ages and view an infographic.

Around the World

Cervical cancer treatment in developing nations

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide. Yet many women do not have an opportunity to protect themselves from this killer:
  1. More than 85 of 100 cervical cancer deaths occur in developing countries.
  2. Africa has 4 ½ times more cases of cervical cancer compared with the U.S.
  3. Africa has 10 times more deaths from the disease than the U.S.
The burden of HPV in developing countries is due to the fact that women lack access to cervical cancer screenings and HPV vaccines. The documentary Lady Ganga: Nilza’s Story gives viewers a sense of this situation by telling the story of Nilza, a mother who was fortunate enough to have a screening due to the efforts of Michele Baldwin, an American mom who lost her life to cervical cancer. Baldwin spent her last days raising awareness for the need to increase preventative care in countries like India.

Did You Know?

Millions and millions

  1. 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV.
  2. 14 million people in the United States are infected with HPV each year.
  3. About 7 million of these new infections occur in teens and young adults.

Ask the VEC

If I was vaccinated against HPV, is there any chance that I can be infected?

Multimedia Corner

Free viewing offer for Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic

The Vaccine Education Center continues to provide free viewing of the 80-minute documentary Someone You Love: The HPV EpidemicFind out how HPV can affect a woman’s life.

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