An estimated 280,000 Travis County residents are infected with the human papilloma virus (HPV). In Travis County alone, an estimated 102 cancer cases per year are caused by HPV; approximately 60 of these cancer cases are diagnosed in women, with the remaining 42 in men. These results are part of a data analyses conducted by Austin Public Health on the prevalence of HPV in our area and recently published in the July –August 2017 Travis County Medical Society Journal: http://www.tcms.com/uploadedFiles/Travis_County_Medical_Society/Communications/Journal/2017-July-August-web.pdf (page 22)
Though cervical cancer incidence rates and mortality rates have decreased significantly due to the effectiveness of Pap test screening, disparities in Travis County among racial/ethnic groups persist. The highest incidence rates (2004-2014) of cervical cancer in Travis County are found in Hispanic women, followed by non-Hispanic black women, non-Hispanic Asians/Pacific Islanders women and non-Hispanic white women.
HPV can also cause cancers in the back of the throat, most commonly in the base of the tongue and tonsils. These cancers are called “oropharyngeal cancers.” In Travis County, incidence rates of oropharyngeal cancers among white males 50-59 and 60-69 have risen since 1999, a trend that has not been observed in any other age group of males or in males of other race/ethnicities.
Annual direct medical costs associated with preventing and treating HPV associated disease in Travis County is estimated to be $26.8 million.
“HPV vaccination is the best prevention strategy,” said Dr. Phil Huang, Medical Director, Austin Public Health. “We work with physicians to encourage them to provide this vaccine in the same way and on the same day as all adolescent vaccines. We also need parents to partner in this effort. We want to see HPV vaccine rates rise to comparable levels as Tdap and meningococcal vaccines.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that 11- to 12-year-olds receive two doses of HPV vaccine at least six months apart to protect against cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infections. Teens and young adults who start the series later, at ages 15 through 26 years, will continue to need three doses of HPV vaccine to protect against cancer-causing HPV infection. For more information on HPV, visit www.cdc.gov/hpv.
Austin Public Health provides immunizations to children who are uninsured or Medicaid recipients. Services are also available to uninsured adults. To make an appointment call Shots for Tots or Big Shots at 512-972-5520. For more information on Immunization Cinics, visit www.austintexas.gov/immunizations.
Communications and Public Information Office
301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701