Why should i protect my child from HPV?

Dear friends, in the past two years we have faced an incredible amount of health problems, we are – still – living in a global pandemic. Since the onset of the “Corona crisis”, however, many other pension issues have been somewhat lost.

However, as I know that many parents of children aged 9-17 are also reading here, we would like to focus on HPV again today. HPV stands for human papillomavirus, which can cause certain types of cancer in girls and boys as adults. Preventive measures and vaccinations from the age of 9 may be the best way to prevent it.

Particular Tumors caused by HP viruses

After all, around 7,850 people in Germany develop cancer each year that can be traced to HP viruses. Therefore, the more our children grow up, we should also think and talk about this topic. Our little ones grow faster than we sometimes believe …

… and with adolescence, not only the parental embarrassment and the non-mood phase arrives on the table, but also health care in an even more explicit way. If the pediatrician faces this problem, if posters about a possible HPV vaccination are hanging in practice or if they are discussed in the schoolyard.

Today we would like to address this topic again in detail. Because HPV vaccination cannot protect against all HP viruses
It protects against disease, but can prevent cervical and vaginal cancer in girls or anal cancer in boys and girls.

Human papillomaviruses and their impact

Today we would like to give you a clear overview of the most important facts about human papillomaviruses to perhaps even provide decision-making aid on which preventive measures are suitable for you as a parent for your children or not.

HPV: why prevention is so important

Background information: About 85-90% of all people become infected with HPV in their lifetime. Infection with so-called low-risk types of HPV can cause benign warts. However, persistent infections with so-called high-risk HPV types can trigger cellular changes that can develop into certain types of cancer. The risk of possible consequences of a human papilloma virus infection, such as some resulting cancers, can be greatly reduced by vaccination and preventive medical checks.

How do you get infected with the HP virus?

HP viruses are transmitted through direct human-to-human contact. As I said: most people get infected with it in their lifetime. Viruses can enter the body through the smallest injuries to the skin or mucous membranes, especially through intimate physical contact.

What diseases can HP viruses cause?

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide. Cervical cancer is almost 100% caused by some HP viruses. In men, HP viruses mainly cause cancers of the mouth, throat, genitals, and anal area.

Both girls and boys can develop genital warts and, later in life, HPV-related cancers. Both women and men have cancer in the mouth and throat area.

How does an HPV infection progress?

An HPV infection often goes unnoticed at first because it is usually symptom-free. In most cases, the infection clears within about a year without any health problems. Only: If the HPV infection lasts longer, this can cause cellular changes in the mucous membranes or skin, and in some people it can develop into precancerous lesions or cancer.

What does STIKO recommend?

Vaccination is one of the most important precautionary measures. The Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute recommends HPV vaccination for boys and girls between the ages of 9 and 14. If possible, vaccination should be carried out between the ages of 9 and 14, but not beyond the age of 17 (until the day before the age of 18).

Depending on the vaccine used, HPV vaccination is used to prevent certain diseases that are caused by certain types of HPV, such as: precancerous lesions and cancer of the cervix (cervix), external female genital organs (vulva), vagina ( vagina) and the anus (anus) and genital warts.

HPV vaccination: the most important facts

For all those who decide to vaccinate their children, here is an overview of the most important facts.

At what age should I be vaccinated against HPV?

STIKO recommends early vaccination of boys and girls. Vaccination can be given from the age of 9 and therefore before a possible HPV infection. Furthermore, the younger the person vaccinated, the better the immune system reacts to the vaccination. Also, the vaccine can be given in two doses up to the day before the 15th birthday, after which three doses are needed.

How many vaccinations are needed and when?

Girls and boys up to and including the age of 14 receive vaccine doses in two individual vaccinations at least five months apart. From the age of 15 and if the vaccination interval is too short, three individual vaccinations are scheduled.

Why should girls AND boys be vaccinated?

Possible diseases caused by HP viruses can affect both sexes equally. The HPV vaccines recommended for prevention in males are the same as those used for females.

Who pays for HPV vaccination?

For girls and boys between the ages of 9 and 17, HPV vaccination is paid for by law and, as a rule, also by private health insurance. Some health insurance companies also cover vaccination costs for young people over the age of 18.

So, there were a lot of facts and a lot of inputs. If you still have questions, you can of course ask your pediatrician first
talk to. You can also call the health insurance company and ask questions. Furthermore, state or reputable institutions such as the Robert Koch Institute,
the Federal Center for Health Education or the German Center for Cancer Research provide good information on the subject – for anyone wishing to learn more.

Lisa Harmann

Lisa Harmann has always been curious in all directions. She works as a journalist, author and blogger, has three children and lives in Bergisch near Cologne.

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