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Not all Doctors Recommend HPV Vaccines for Preteens, Survey Says

Update Date: Jan 04, 2016 10:33 AM EST

Not all pediatricians and family care physicians are recommending preteens to get the vaccine regime for the human papillomavirus (HPV), a new survey found.

HPV is a group of viruses that gets transmitted through sex. Some of the viruses can lead to different types of cancer, such as cervical cancer, and cancer of the mouth and throat.

The vaccine, which includes three shots, acts as protection against certain strains of HPV. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that boys and girls get the vaccine between the ages of 11 and 12 when they are most likely not sexually active yet.

In the survey, researchers headed by Dr. Allison Kempe of the University of Colorado, set out to examine how many doctors follow the CDC guidelines by recommending parents to get their pre-teen children vaccinated.

They surveyed 582 doctors via mail or Internet and found that although almost all of the doctors had talked about the HPV vaccine with preteens, about one-third of the doctors did not strongly recommend it. Doctors were more likely to push for HPV vaccination in older children and in girls.

The team found that the most common reasons for not recommending vaccination were the doctors' belief that their patients were not sexually active and that parents would strongly object.

The survey results help explain why U.S. HPV vaccination rates are relatively low. A national survey conducted last year found that 60 percent of adolescent girls and 42 percent of boys received at least the first dose of the regimen.

The survey's findings were published in the journal, Pediatrics.

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