DR. MOHLER: Good news – HPV vaccine works much better than expected | PostIndependent.com

DR. MOHLER: Good news – HPV vaccine works much better than expected

Phil Mohler, M.D.
Free Press Health Columnist

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is reporting a new study that shows that the prevalence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections dropped 56% in teenage females, aged 14-19 years. In 2007, the HPV vaccine was first recommended as a routine vaccination against the HPV virus that causes cervical cancer and genital warts in women and genital warts and an increased risk of cancer of the penis and anus in men.

In the four-year period, 2007-2011, the prevalence of HPV infections in teenagers fell to 5.1% compared to 11.5% in the period prior to HPV immunization. This is a remarkable decrease in disease, particularly in the face of the fact that only one-third of teenage girls are fully immunized with three injections. It is estimated that increasing the vaccination rate from the current 33% to 80% would prevent 50,000 cases of cervical cancer among girls living today.

A three-dose series of the HPV vaccine is recommended for all girls aged 11-12 years and for females aged 13-26 who have not been vaccinated. In 2011, the recommendation for the HPV vaccine was expanded to include boys aged 11 and 12 years and for unvaccinated males up to age 26.


• This vaccine is very effective.

• HPV vaccine is extraordinarily safe.

• There are no data to support the misconception that providing teenagers with protection against sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy stimulates new sexual activity.

• Every dollar spent on vaccines saves $5-$10 in health care costs.

• HPV vaccine is available at your physician’s office and at the Mesa County Health Department, where fees are based on ability to pay. Call 970-248-6900 for clinic hours or to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Mohler has practiced family medicine in Grand Junction for 38 years. He has a particular interest in pharmaceutical education. Phil works part-time for both Primary Care Partners and Rocky Mountain Health Plans. Email him at pjmohler@bresnan.net.

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