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US Lags Behind Other Nations on HPV Vaccination

By Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN
At the end of January 2016, 69 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers issued a statement urging parents, young adults and physicians to increase HPV vaccination rates. It’s estimated that only 40% of girls and 21% of boys in the United States are receiving the recommended three doses of the HPV vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention.

These HPV immunization rates fall short of the goal of 80% by the end of the decade, set by the US Department of Health and Human Service's Healthy People 2020 mission. It’s unclear why HPV immunization rate are higher in other countries; for instance, the HPV immunization rate in the United Kingdom is around 90%.

The CDC estimates that HPV infections are responsible for about 27,000 new cancer diagnoses each year in the United States. Several types of high-risk HPV are responsible for the vast majority of cervical, anal, throat and other genital cancers. About 79 million people in the United States are currently infected with HPV and 14 million new infections occur each year. HPV infection and subsequent cancer development can be prevented with increased HPV vaccination rates.
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