Human papillomaviruses (HPV) cause a large number of cancers of the mouth and throat, cervix and genital organs. HPV are the most common sexually transmitted viruses in the United States, and the highest prevalence of HPV infection is found in sexually active adolescents and young adults.
In a revised policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) updates its recommendations for the use of HPV vaccine in both males and females.
The statement, “HPV Vaccine Recommendations,” is published in the March 2012 Pediatrics (published online Feb. 27) and provides the rationale and background to support the HPV vaccine recommendations in the 2012 Adolescent Immunization Schedule (published Feb. 1).
The AAP recommends routine HPV vaccination of males and females at 11-12 years of age. The vaccine is most effective if administered before the onset of sexual activity, and antibody responses to the vaccine are highest at ages 9 through 15 years.
Immunization of children against HPV infection will help prevent cancers and genital warts caused by HPV.