LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Human Papillomavirus, or HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get at least one type of HPV infection at some point in their lives.
The CDC says some strands of HPV can lead to different types of cancer like anal, cervical, vaginal, penile, and even cancers in the back of the throat.
That's why doctor Sabah Ahmed from Lake Charles Memorial Hospital says getting the HPV vaccine is first and foremost a precaution.
“I’m a huge proponent of these vaccinations,” Ahmed said. “One of the biggest reasons is for us to prevent these viruses that cause cancer in the future.”
She says the FDA recently approved the vaccine to be given to adults up to the age of 45. But she says it is a better idea to vaccinate earlier than that.
"Even though the FDA has approved the vaccination up to the age of 45, it is still important to vaccinate your children and adolescents between the ages of 9 and 26," Ahmed said.
“It just protects you,” Ahmed said. “At some point in your life, you’re going to be sexually active, whether it’s happening when you’re younger or whether it’s happening later. It protects you from all strands of HPV, even if you get it at an older age. Please discuss this with your doctor and they’ll be able to give you recommendations whether they recommend it or not.”