Darla Stonehouse, Harvey County Health Department

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every year about 12,000 women living in the United States will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 women will die from this type of cancer. About 6 million people, including teens, become infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) every year. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that every year about 12,000 women living in the United States will be diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 women will die from this type of cancer. About 6 million people, including teens, become infected with the human papillomavirus (HPV) every year. HPV is the leading cause of cervical cancer.

Genital human papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted disease. There are more than forty types of HPV that can infect males and females. Most people who are infected with HPV do not even know it.
 

One way to lower chances of getting HPV is through vaccination. According to the CDC’s national teen vaccination data, far too few adolescent girls are getting the HPV vaccine. The three dose series of HPV vaccine is recommended for girls at age 11-12, and for teens and young women age 13-26 years of age who did not get any or all of the three recommended doses when they were younger.  Out of the two vaccines on the market today, one also protects against most genital warts and anal cancer and is also available for males 9-26 years of age.
 

Parents and health care providers all have a role in protecting teens from HPV infection. As parents, know your teen’s immunization status. If your teen has not started the HPV vaccine series make an appointment to do so. If you are concerned about the cost or if your health insurance does not cover the HPV vaccine, the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program can help. Some area physicians’ offices and the Harvey County Health Department are VFC providers.
The HPV vaccine is available at the Harvey County Health Department. In addition the Harvey County Health Department will have the HPV vaccine available during school located vaccination clinics this spring. If you would like to know when we will be at your teen’s school call the Harvey County Health Department or follow us on Facebook.