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Human Papillomavirus (HPV)                                                                                                 

(Information for health care providers) 
Image of a mother and daughter   Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of more than 150 related viruses. Nearly 80 million people—about one in four—are currently infected in the United States.

Most cases of HPV are asymptomatic and are cleared by the body. However, some HPV infections may cause genital warts and other HPV types can lead to cancer in both men and women. HPV cancers include cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth and throat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that HPV causes more than 90% of all anal and cervical cancers, 70% of vaginal, vulvar and oralpharyngeal cancers (base of the tongue, tonsils and back of throat), and over 60% of penile cancers.                             

HPV Vaccine: An Cancer Prevention 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 CDC recommends two doses of the HPV vaccine at 11 or 12 years old. Three doses of the HPV vacine are recommended for men and women aged 15-26. The HPV vaccine is also recommended for the following people, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger: 
  • young men who have sex with men, including young men who identify as gay or bisexual or who intend to have sex with men through age 26;
  • young adults who are transgender through age 26; and
  • young adults with certain immunocompromising conditions (including HIV) through age 26.

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 (2017). 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:



You Are the Power to Prevent Cancer 

Visit to learn more about this campaign. 

The power to prevent cancer is in your hands! HPV vaccination increases 5-fold in August at the peak of back-to-school appointments. It's time to put an many young people as possible on the path to lifelong prevention of HPV cancers. 
10 Powerful Ways to Prevent Cancer Through HPV Vaccination.
  1. Be A Cancer Fighter! By boosting HPV vaccination rates among your patients, you will be preventing cancer! That’s a real super power. Get all the details about the HPV vaccine, recommendations, safety, and effectiveness in this toolkit. [LINK:] It also provides information on dosing schedules around the 2-dose recommendation.
  2. You Are Powerful! Research indicates that clinician recommendation is the number one reason parents decide to vaccinate. This is especially important for the HPV vaccination. CDC now recommends that 11 or 12 year olds receive 2 doses of HPV vaccine instead of 3. This resource helps explain the reasons for changing the HPV vaccine recommendation, and provides tips for talking with the parents of your patients about the change. [LINK:]
  3. Your Words Matter. Recommend same-day HPV vaccination, in the same way you recommend all other vaccines. It turns out that less is more: a recent Pediatrics study found that when doctors made brief statements that presumed parents intended to vaccinate their child, vaccine rates increased by 5 percent [LINK:]. Get more tips on talking to parents. [LINK:]
  4. Be A Super Team! From the front desk to the full staff, your team needs to know the importance of HPV vaccination so they can have powerful conversations with parents. Watch these videos as a team to understand how devastating HPV cancers can be. [Link:]
  5. Consistency Is Magic! Establish a policy to reduce missed vaccination opportunities. Create a system to check immunization status ahead of all sick and well visits. Before seeing the patient, staff should indicate if the patient is due for immunization, with special consideration to the HPV vaccination. Take a few minutes to read AAP’s HPV Toolkit, section on “Making a Change in Your Office”. [LINK:
  6. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work! Team up with your professional organizations, local health department and vaccine coalition to achieve your goals of protecting your patients. Link to the leadership team of the HPV Vaccination Roundtable, a coalition of over 70 public, private, and voluntary organizations and experts dedicated to reducing incidences of mortality from HPV cancers in the United States. [LINK:]. If you need to find local vaccine advocates, check out this map of national HPV programs and initiatives. [LINK:!/vizhome/DraftBook_Edits/Dashboard
  7. Unite to Vaccinate! Empower your staff to know current vaccination rates and discover why some patients are behind on their vaccines. The whole team can facilitate solutions on how to bring these patients in and keep immunization rates up. [LINK: ]
  8. Stay on Target! Maintain strong doctor/provider-patient relationships to help with challenging immunization conversations. Watch these videos from Minnesota’s Department of Heath that use humorous vignettes and then presents four model clinical encounters to have powerful conversations with parents. [LINK:].
  9. Knowledge is Power. Be prepared with answers to succinctly, accurately and compassionately inform parents of the most current medical facts. [LINK: ] Check out this HPV vaccine myth buster. [LINK:]
  10. You Are a Superhero! Use personal examples of how you encourage vaccination for the children in your life. Watch this short video with a compelling personal story. [LINK:}]
Ways to Spread the Power of HPV Cancer Prevention
Members of the HPV Vaccination Roundtable have created these materials to promote HPV vaccination. Feel free to use these materials all year long.!/vizhome/DraftBook_Edits/Dashboard
Top 10 Tips for HPV #VaxSuccess -
Summer peaks in uptake of human papillomavirus (HPV) and other adolescent vaccines in the United States -

  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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