HPV, or human papillomavirus, is a common sexually transmitted infection that can lead to cancers of some of the most private places: the cervix, vagina, penis and throat. Although there’s been a vaccine to prevent HPV for about a decade, vaccination rates among kids and teens have stayed relatively low, both in California and nationwide. Because HPV is sexually transmitted, some parents shy away from the vaccine, feeling it isn’t necessary for their preteens. Others contend the vaccine isn’t proven.

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