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Editors' Message  |   March 2011
General Thoughts on HPV Vaccination
Article Information
Preventive Medicine
Editors' Message   |   March 2011
General Thoughts on HPV Vaccination
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 2011, Vol. 111, S2. doi:
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, March 2011, Vol. 111, S2. doi:
A physician's job is to make life easier and more comfortable for his or her patients. We want every one of our patients to be armed with everything we have to offer for their health. Our patients want the same thing and come to their physician encounters with similar goals. However, they have different experiences with healthcare, different knowledge bases, different expectations on how they can achieve optimal health, and different understandings of what optimal levels of health are for them. 
© Thinkstock 2011
© Thinkstock 2011
It is often the role of the physician to advocate and educate for population-based prevention in order to protect a person's health—and that may take some educating. Vaccines, especially those that are injected, are not high on our patients' lists of desirable interventions. While our patients are enthusiastic about the benefits of vaccination, the route of administration and the effort required to achieve the full protection from something like human papillomavirus (HPV) (eg, 3 separate visits for 3 injections) tempers that enthusiasm. 
Fewer than 7% of people who would benefit from the herpes zoster vaccine have received it.1 The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Immunization Survey-Teen found that among adolescent girls aged 13 to 17 years, only 25.1% availed themselves of the HPV vaccine; of that group, only a quarter completed the series of 3 injections.2 
For patients, having a primary care physician is a key determinant in whether or not patients complete the full course of the HPV vaccine.3 Knowing that getting the vaccine does not stop the need for pelvic examinations and PAP smears is another issue that patients must be aware of. Men are most often seen as carriers and spreaders of HPV and can also develop genital warts and other issues.4 
Working with our patients is more an art than a science. We have to use the relationships we develop with our patients in a therapeutic way to bring them toward receiving the best care possible. The knowledge and the experience we develop by having many patients going through the same experience is extremely valuable to each of our individual patients, and it can be helpful in getting more people to practice prevention. 
We hope that you are able to gain some knowledge from this supplement and that you will think “HPV” when you see patients in your office who would be appropriate candidates for prevention—both for themselves and for the health of our whole community. 
  This supplement is supported by an independent educational grant from Merck & Co, Inc.
 
Lu PJ, Eular GL, Harpaz R. Herpes zoster vaccination among adults aged 60 years and older, in the U.S., 2008. Am J Prev Med. 2011;40(2):e1-e6.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccination coverage among adolescents aged 13–17 years—United States, 2007 [published correction appears in MMWR Morb Mortal Weekly Rep. 2009;58(1)10]. MMWR Morb Mortal Weekly Rep. 2008;57(40):1100-1103.
Chao C, Velicer C, Slezak JM, Jacobsen SJ. Correlates for completion of 3 dose regimen of HPV vaccine in female members of a managed care organization. May Clin Proc. 2009;84(10):864-870.
Cymet T. Sexually activated or transmitted? Questions about HPV. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2006;106(7):423 .
© Thinkstock 2011
© Thinkstock 2011