FDA recommends HPV vaccination for women and men up to 45 years of age

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The Food and Drug Administration is now recommending the HPV vaccination for women and men up to the age of 45.

Before, the FDA said the vaccine was only recommended for women and men ages 9 to 26.

"This is a virus that’s pretty prevalent in the population and the main reason we’re concerned about it is it causes cancer," said Dr. Kathryn Reese, a pediatrician at the Physician's Center with St. Luke's.

Officials are extending the age allowance as older adults get diagnosed with cancers associated with the virus. Reese said the most common three cancers that come from HPV are cervical, penial and throat cancer.

"Most people that are diagnosed with the cancers caused by HPV aren't diagnosed until they're in their 40's or 50's, so I think it's just being able to, a chance to increase the protection by offering this vaccine to a larger group of people," she said.

Reese said the vaccination is not required in the state of Idaho, but she said more colleges are starting to require it.

"I think it’s overall just good health for the child," she said.

Reese said if a patient is over the age of 26 and wants the vaccine now, it may not be covered by insurance yet.

"The guidelines by the American Academy of Pediatrics are still following that, their's is still age 9 to 26. Your insurance if you’re over 26 may not cover because the FDA approval went through recently, but most insurances wont cover the vaccine until different society guidelines also endorse it," she explained.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 14 million Americans become infected with HPV every year.

"The most common way of spreading it is by having sexual intercourse," she said.

However, it's not the only way that it can be transmitted, she said. It can be transferred from skin-to-skin contact.

"A myth is that it’s a hesitancy for some parents because the feeling is 'it’s hard to imagine my 10 year old to have sex," she continued. "So I think that by focusing up, this is a vaccine that is going to protect this child, male or female, in their adult years. That’s why we want to give it now."

Those interested should call their primary care doctor, Reese said.

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