Healthcare professionals in the U.S. are urging parents to have their kids get human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which can immunize a person against various kinds of cancers.

HPV is a common and highly contagious infection and more than 75 percent of sexually active women acquire it at some time in their lives. There are around 100 types of HPV but around 40 types are transmitted due to sexual contact and infect the genital area of a person.

HPV can cause cancers of the vulva, cervix, vagina, oropharynx, penis and anus. In some cases HPV can also result in throat cancer. Around 70 percent of cervical cancer is caused by HPV.

Previously, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) only recommended girls at age 11 or 12 to get vaccinated against the disease. However, in 2011, CDC recommends that both boys and girls should get HPV vaccine at age 11 to 12.

The CDC reveals that even though the HPV vaccine is easily available and most insurers pay for it, only a small number of parents get their children vaccinated with all three recommended doses. Reports suggest that in 2013, just 38 percent of American girls and 14 percent of American boys between the age of 13 and 17 received all three doses of the vaccine.

The CDC report highlights that many countries are taking HPV vaccine very seriously. Rwanda, in Africa, claims to have vaccinated over 80 percent of teen girls for HPV.

"Our low vaccination rates represent 50,000 preventable tragedies - 50,000 girls alive today will develop cervical cancer over their lifetime that would have been prevented if we reach 80 percent vaccination rates. For every year we delay in doing so, another 4,400 girls will develop cervical cancer in their lifetimes," per CDC.

The report also suggests that about 79 million people in the U.S., mostly in their teens or 20's are affected by HPV and about 14 million people are estimated to get infected with HPV each year. According to CDC data, in the U.S. around 19,000 cancer cases in women is caused by HPV each year. Similarly, around 8,000 cancer cases in men in the nation are caused by HPV.

Doctors suggest that the HPV vaccine is very effective and vaccination is also possible for older teens and young adults in early 20's. Doctors suggest three doses of the vaccine over a six-month period.

Parents should understand the importance of HPV vaccine for their children, which can ward off many potential diseases.

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