HPV :: NMA endorses the use of HPV vaccine

The National Medical Association (NMA) issued a statement strongly encouraging “the appropriate use of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, but believes that patient participation should be voluntary.”

The current recommendations for the use of the HPV vaccine for young girls and women 9 to 26 years of age, as a means of preventing cervical cancer, is supported. “However, at this time, we do not endorse mandatory HPV vaccination,” said Albert W. Morris, M.D., President of the NMA.

“We acknowledge that HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S. and is associated with genital and cervical cancer which makes it a significant public health concern. The decision to require this vaccine for adolescents, 11 to 12 years of age, should be one left to parents, after appropriate education regarding risk and benefits, rather than mandating it through the legislative process,” concluded Morris.

HPV is short for human papilloma (pap-ah-LO-mah) virus. HPVs are a group of over 100 related viruses. Each HPV virus in the group is given a number, which is called an HPV type. HPVs are called papilloma viruses because some of the HPV types cause warts, or papillomas, which are non-cancerous tumors.

The papilloma viruses are attracted to and are able to live only in squamous epithelial cells in the body. Squamous epithelial cells are thin, flat cells that are found on the surface of the skin, cervix, vagina, anus, vulva, head of the penis, mouth, and throat. HPVs will not grow in other parts of the body.

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