Minority Health and HPV
Make a difference in your community by reducing the risk of HPV-related cancers. Get your child vaccinated.
The Impact of HPV
Human papillomavirus, also known as HPV, does not discriminate. Almost everyone who is sexually active will be infected with HPV sometime in his or her life. Most of the time, the infection goes away on its own, but sometimes HPV infections can lead to cancer. This happens among people in all communities, including in communities of color. Every year in the United States, about 17,500 women and 9,300 men are diagnosed with cancers probably caused by HPV.
Despite widespread availability of screening and treatment, about 4,000 women die from cervical cancer in the United States every year. Women of color often are diagnosed with cervical cancer at a later stage than white women. Black women are more likely to die from cervical cancer than women of other races or ethnicities are, possibly because of decreased access to Pap testing or follow-up treatment. Hispanic women have the highest rates of cervical cancer in the United States. For every 100,000 women living in the U.S., about 11 Hispanic women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, compared to only seven non-Hispanic women.
Other HPV-Associated Cancers
Besides cervical cancer, HPV can also cause anal cancer and cancers of the mouth and throat (oropharyngeal cancer), as well as cancer of the penis in men and vaginal and vulvar cancers in women. Black women have the highest rates of HPV-associated vaginal cancer, and Hispanic men have the highest rates of HPV-associated penile cancer. Unfortunately, there is no routine screening recommended for these other HPV-associated cancers, so vaccination is the best and only prevention strategy.
Many of the HPV infections that cause these cancers could be prevented if young females and males received the HPV vaccine [PDF - 208KB]. HPV vaccination can reduce HPV infection and is effective in protecting people against some types of HPV-associated cancers (cervical, anal, vaginal, and vulvar). These vaccines can help improve the health of men and women, including those in communities of color. CDC recommends that all girls and boys 11 or 12 years old should get three doses of HPV vaccine. HPV vaccines are also recommended for males through age 21 and for females through age 26 who did not get vaccinated when they were younger.
What can parents do?
Make a difference in your community and make sure your child has been vaccinated. If you haven't gotten your child the HPV vaccine yet, or your child hasn't completed the three-dose series of shots, call your child's doctor or nurse today. If you have an older teen who isn't yet vaccinated, it's not too late. Can't afford to get your child vaccinated? CDC's Vaccines for Children Program may be able to help.
Visit the CDC website to find out more about HPV vaccine: www.cdc.gov/vaccines/teens.