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Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

(Information for health care providers) 
Image of a mother and daughter   Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most commonly sexually transmitted infection (STI). There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of males and females. These HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat. Most cases of HPV are asymptomatic and are cleared by the body. However, a small percentage of infections may become cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that HPV causes 70% of all cervical cancers; 90% of all anal cancers; 40% of all vulvar, vaginal, or penile cancers; and 12% of oralpharyngeal cancers (base of the tongue, tonsils and back of throat). 

HPV Vaccine: An Anti-Cancer Vaccine

HPV vaccines are available to protect females and males against some of the most common HPV types and health problems the virus may cause, including cancer. The HPV vaccination series works best when all three doses are given to a patient before sexual activity occurs. The CDC recommends three doses of HPV vaccine for males and females aged 11-12. Males and females aged 13-26 should receive the HPV vaccine series if they have not already done so. Click here for more information.

Will HPV vaccination be covered by health insurance?

For many, it's easier than ever to get the HPV vaccine. Because of the Affordable Care Act, most private health insurance plans must cover the HPV vaccine at no out-of-pocket cost, meaning no co-pay or deductible. Click here for more information.

How can my child receive HPV vaccine if I don’t have insurance?

The Vaccines for Children (VFC) programs provides federally purchased vaccines for eligible children birth through 18 years of age at no cost to public and private health care providers through the state. Children eligible to receive VFC provided vaccines include children enrolled in Medicaid, children who do not have health insurance and children who are American Indian or Alaska Native. For more information about the Iowa VFC program, click here or call 1-800-831-6293 (ext. 4).

Where can I learn more?

The following resources from the CDC offer additional information about HPV vaccination and cervical cancer:
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2013). Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Retrieved from:
2. University of Iowa College of Public health (2014). State Health Registry of Iowa: 2014 Cancer in Iowa. Retrieved from:

HPV Vaccine Resources for Healthcare Professionals

  Image of HPV You are the key to cancer prevention
An HPV overview, tools for your practice, and handouts for patients and parents are available by clicking here.

Iowa-Specific Provider Resources

Image of a conversation about HPV PDF cover   The 2014 Cancer in Iowa report cover.
A Conversation About HPV: Let's Talk About It (PDF)   2014 Cancer in Iowa Report



President’s Cancer Panel Stresses Urgency of Increased HPV Vaccination

In February 2014, The President’s Cancer Panel released a report detailing the dangers associated with failing to increase HPV vaccination rates in the US. According to the report, HPV vaccines could dramatically reduce the incidence of HPV-associated cancers among both males and females, but uptake of the vaccines has fallen short of target levels. The report outlines the following goals:
  1. Reduce Missed Clinical Opportunities to Recommend and Administer HPV Vaccines
  2. Increase Parents’, Caregiver’, and Adolescents’ Acceptance of HPV Vaccines
  3. Maximize Access to HPV Vaccination Services
  4. Promote Global HPV Vaccine Uptake
Click here to read the report. 

Medical Organizations Pen Letter Calling for Health Care Providers to Promote HPV Vaccination

National medical organizations have written a letter to urge providers to give strong recommendations for the HPV vaccine, publishing an open “Dear Colleague” letter in an attempt to increase uptake of the HPV vaccine. The letter discusses the importance of provider recommendation for increasing uptake, citing data that show patients who receive a provider recommendation are 4-5 times more likely to become vaccinated. Signers of the letter include the following organizations:
  • American Academy of Family Physicians
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American College of Physicians
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Immunization Action Coalition
Click here to read the letter. 

Cervical Cancer-Free America (CCFA)

The Iowa Cancer Consortium has partnered with the national Cervical Cancer-Free America (CCFA) coalition to engage with states about implementation of state-level programs, research and policy activities. To learn more about this initiative, click here, or contact the Iowa Cancer Consortium at
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