Purpose of review: The present review describes recent advances in our understanding about the epidemiology of human papillomavirus infection among female adolescents and describes several adolescent-specific issues related to administering human papillomavirus vaccines.
Recent findings: National estimates demonstrate that human papillomavirus infection is most prevalent among adolescents and young adults. Parents, patients, and providers have a high interest in vaccination against this virus, but current patterns of adolescent healthcare utilization suggest that changes in adolescent preventive care delivery may be needed to provide these vaccines in a timely manner. Debate over whether adolescents should be legally allowed to self-consent to vaccination is another issue that remains unresolved and could have a substantial impact on vaccination rates. Legislation on school entry requirements related to human papillomavirus vaccination has been introduced in many states as a mechanism to circumvent some of these concerns, but the details of this legislation and its effect on adolescent vaccine utilization remain to be determined.
Summary: Female adolescents are at a high risk for human papillomavirus infection and are likely to derive significant benefits from vaccination against this virus. However, administering human papillomavirus vaccines to this age group will require providers to be familiar with several issues unique to the adolescent population.