Following on recommendations made by its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices in June 2019, the CDC has updated its guidelines for human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination to include additional groups of adults.
The agency has previously recommended routine vaccination for adolescent girls and boys at age 11 or 12, with catch-up vaccinations for women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 (or age 26 for certain groups, including men who have sex with men and men with weakened immunity). In updated recommendations released in August 2019, the CDC now advises catch-up vaccination for all men through age 26.
The agency also says that some people older than 26 and up to age 45 may be at risk for new HPV infection and should decide with their doctors whether it would be beneficial to be vaccinated. But it doesn’t recommend catch-up vaccination for people ages 27 to 45 in general, citing minimal benefit (in part because many adults older than 26 have already been infected with HPV).
The FDA approved the HPV vaccine for previously unvaccinated adults ages 27 to 45 in January, but the CDC until now had not weighed in on whether it would expand its recommendations to include this older age group (which helps ensure that insurance will pay for it).
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the world. It causes genital warts and most cervical cancers, as well as cancers of the throat, vagina, vulva, penis, and anus.
Also see Oral HPV: 8 Things to Know.