FDA approves HPV vaccine for adults over 25

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The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the human papilloma virus or HPV vaccine in people over 25, saying there’s evidence even older adults can be protected against cancer by the vaccine.

The HPV vaccine protects against a range of cancers, including cervical cancer, cancer of the penis, and head and neck cancer. It’s normally given to teens and pre-teens.

“Today’s approval represents an important opportunity to help prevent HPV-related diseases and cancers in a broader age range,” the FDA’s Dr. Peter Marks said in a statement Friday.

There’s no evidence the vaccine protects anyone after they have been infected with HPV, which is an extremely common sexually transmitted infection.

“About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. “About 14 million people become newly infected each year. HPV is so common that most sexually active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives.”

That’s why the vaccine is normally given to kids aged 11 and up and to adults in their early 20s. The multiple doses must be finished before people start any kind of sexual activity.