Many people associate the human papillomavirus vaccine with girls, that is, with the female sex, but there are more and more institutions, for example the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, that parents advise: children should also get vaccinated against human papillomavirus. Find out why!
Adolescence comprises a stage of changes between which our children begin the phase of knowing their sexuality and part of the parents' job is to guide them towards a safe, healthy and responsible sexuality.
It is essential that at this stage, fundamental concepts such as protection against sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies are discussed.
One of the most prevalent infections in the sexually active population is human papillomavirus infection, which has been involved in the origin of premalignant lesions and in cancers of the cervix, penis, anus and oropharynx.
He human papillomavirus (HPV) is a DNA virus that infects the basal layers of the skin or mucous epithelium. The infection occurs through small abrasions in the epithelium, which facilitate the entry of the virus or in areas of special susceptibility such as the cervix or the anal canal.
More than 150 different genotypes have been isolated, of which approximately 40 are transmitted through sexual contact. According to their oncogenic potential, genotypes are classified as high risk (HPV-RA) (16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59 and 66) or low risk (HPV- BR) (6 and 11).
It is estimated that approximately 75% of sexually active women and about 85% of men become infected with HPV in their lifetime. Most of the infections in both sexes are related to the initiation of sexual activity.
About 90% of these infections are transient and resolve within two years of infection. The gradual development of an effective immune response is the most likely mechanism for the spontaneous elimination of HPV. However, the virus can remain in a dormant, undetectable state and is capable of reactivating itself a few years later. Both women and men can be asymptomatic carriers and transmitters of the infection through sexual contact, which is why it is so important that both boys and girls receive the human papillomavirus vaccine.
Among the preventive measures of infection are the systematic use of condoms from the beginning of sexual intercourse and vaccination.
There are currently 3 types of HPV vaccine: the bivalent (genotypes 16,18), the tetravalent (16,18, 6 and 11), and the nonavalent (16, 18, 6 and 11, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58). The nonavalent vaccine is currently recommended in the age range of 9 to 14 years with a schedule of two doses (0.6 months) below 13 years and three doses (0, 2 and 6 months) after that age . All three vaccines have shown a good safety profile in clinical trials and the most common local reactions are erythema, pain, and inflammation.
The Results of clinical trials carried out demonstrate high safety, immunogenicity and efficacy in the prevention of HPV infections and associated cervical precancerous lesions, especially if administered in adolescents, before their first sexual intercourse, and therefore before the first exposure to the virus.
Women over the age of 25 can benefit from HPV vaccination, regardless of whether they are infected with any type of HPV. The use of any of the available vaccines is indicated. A significant proportion of women over 25 years of age are infected with HPV, especially genotypes 16 and 18. The probability of persistence increases with age, which increases the risk of developing precursor lesions or cervical cancer. Natural immunity is known to not fully protect against reinfection.
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