WHAT CAN PARENTS DO?
Unfortunately, there’s no treatment for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. However, you’ll find information below about ways to help protect your child from HPV-related cancers and diseases that can develop later in life.
Education is key.
By getting the facts now, you can have an informed conversation with your child’s doctor or health care professional. Together, you can talk about HPV and decide the best way to help protect your child.
Learn about vaccination.
Your child’s doctor or health care professional may talk to you about HPV vaccination.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends routine HPV vaccination for both boys and girls at age 11 or 12.
While 11 and 12 are the recommended ages for routine vaccination, females who are 13-26 and males who are 13-21, may still be able to catch up and receive HPV vaccination. Talk to your child’s doctor to help determine when the time is right.
Remember, your child may not be at risk for HPV now, but the risk increases as they get older.
Exposure can happen through any type of genital contact with someone who has HPV. So, even though intercourse is the most common way to get the virus, it isn’t necessary for exposure.
Other ways to help protect.
When the time is right, you can talk to your son or daughter about some of these other ways to help protect against HPV-related cancers and diseases. Having an open and honest conversation can help educate your child about infection with the virus and its potentially serious consequences.
Condoms may lower the risk of getting HPV if used all the time and in the right way. But keep in mind that the virus can affect areas that aren’t covered by a condom — so it may not fully protect against HPV.
Limiting sexual partners
While there’s no way to know whether your partner could expose you to HPV, limiting your number of sexual partners may help lower your chances of getting the virus.
According to the CDC, the most reliable way to prevent genital HPV infection is abstaining from sexual activity.
Doctor appointments down the road.
If you have a daughter, routine Pap tests will play a key role in protecting her health when she gets older. These tests are proven to help save lives by looking for abnormal cells in the cervix before they have the chance to become precancer or cancer.
If you have a son, regular check-ups may be helpful when he gets older, too. There is currently no recommended screening test for HPV in males, so check-ups can give men a chance to openly talk to a doctor or health care professional if they see or feel something different in their genital area.