HPV Vaccine Update for Healthy Connections Medicaid Members
The South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services announced that they are extending coverage of the HPV vaccine. The HPV vaccine is already a covered benefit for Healthy Connections Medicaid members who are between 9 and 18 years old and will now be covered for individuals ages 19-45 beginning July 1st, 2023. The HPV vaccine is also covered for most individuals ages 9-18 who have comprehensive insurance plans.
What is the Human Papillomavirus?
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common Sexually Transmitted Infection in the United States. It affects nearly 50,000 Americans each year and 85% of Americans over their lifetime. There are many different types of HPV. Some types cause less severe health problems like genital warts, while others cause more severe problems, like cancer. HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer in women. Further, HPV can also cause cancer of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, mouth, throat, tongue, or tonsils.
The CDC recommends HPV vaccination for:
- all preteens (including boys and girls) starting at age 9
- everyone through the age of 26 years who are not already vaccinated
- some adults age 27 through 45 years who are not already vaccinated and are at higher risk (including men who have sex with men, new or multiple sexual partners, immune system suppression or compromise, and others) after speaking with your healthcare provider
Dr. Kayla Richardson of CMC Primary Care Postal Way urges “the earlier you can get vaccinated, the more effective the vaccine will be. Talk with your primary care provider or your child’s pediatrician as soon as possible about the whether the HPV vaccine is right for you.”
According to the CDC, those who are sexually active should use condoms correctly, every time you have sex. This can lower your chances of getting HPV, however, HPV can infect areas that the condom does not cover. Dr. Richardson also advises “to only have sex with partners you know and trust.”