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Triumphs and Hurdles for the New HPV Vaccine

erent types of HPV, but only a select few can cause cervical cancer, Gilsdorf said. The HPV vaccine currently available may help guard against diseases that are caused by HPV Types 6, 11, 16, and 18. HPV Types 16 and 18 cause 70 percent of cervical cancer cases, and HPV Types 6 and 11 cause 90 percent of genital warts cases.

Roughly 80 percent of women will be infected by HPV by the age of 50, according to the Partnership to End Cervical Cancer.

Despite this significant advancement for women’s health, some issues remain surrounding the vaccine. “Access is always a concern for vaccines,” says Gilsdorf.

The HPV vaccine requires three doses and the list price for each dose is $120. Some insurance companies will pay for the vaccine and Vaccines for Children (VFC), a federal program administered by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, will pay for HPV vaccination for children 18 years of age and under that are Medicaid eligible, uninsured, American Indian or Alaska Native.

Underinsured children, whose health insurance benefit plan does not include vaccinations, can also receive VFC-funded vaccinations for free if they are served by a Federally Qualified Health Center or Rural Health Clinic. Parents who want to know if their children are VFC eligible should talk to their doctor or contact a local health clinic.

Follow-up and compliance with the three-part vaccine may become an issue for some women, especially college-aged women who may not return to the doctor to get the complete vaccination.

For some parents, condoning the administration of a sexually transmitted disease vaccine in their pre-pubescent daughters may cause concern. Some parents may have a tough time accepting or imagining the sexual activity of their daughters.

If a woman has HPV or even cervical cancer, she may not realize it. In general, there are few to no symptoms of cervical precancers or early cancers. It m
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