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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

HEALTH CORNER: Research says that we should really all just get vaccinated for HPV already

Human Papillomavirus prevalence among females ages 14 to 19 decreased by 64 percent within six years of the vaccine introduction, according to a new study.

The research, published in the journal Pediatrics, was led by Lauri E. Markowitz of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers also found a 34 percent decrease in HPV prevalence among those of the age of 20 to 24 years since the introduction of the HPV vaccine.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. Currently, there are 79 million Americans infected with HPV, with 14 million new infections every year, according to the CDC. The CDC stated that HPV is so common that almost all men and women who are sexually active will get it at some point in their lives.

Luckily, in most cases, HPV goes away on its own without many signs or symptoms. HPV does, however, have the potential to turn into genital warts or even cancer. HPV has been linked to cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus or even throat.

As far as preventing transmission of the virus, the CDC said the most important way to prevent transmission is to get vaccinated. They recommend vaccination of all boys and girls at least 11 to 12 years old.

After learning of the decline in HPV prevalence nationwide, the Daily Wildcat spoke with Lee Ann Hamilton, assistant director of Health Promotion and Preventive Services at Campus Health Service, to see if incidents at the UA have been affected.

“We have seen a significant reduction in cases of HPV-associated genital warts at the Women’s Health Clinic here at the UA,” Hamilton said. “This is really exciting because this is a really effective vaccine that can prevent many, many cases of cervical cancer, as well as cases of genital warts.”

Hamilton also said the HPV vaccine is effective against 90 percent of the strains that cause genital warts or changes in the cervix that could ultimately lead to cancer.

For students on campus who wish to get vaccinated, Campus Health offers two different HPV vaccines available in the immunizations office on the first floor, room A104.

“I encourage students, if you haven’t gotten the HPV vaccine, to seriously consider getting it,” Hamilton said. “It’s highly effective and can prevent cancer, genital warts and is conveniently available at Campus Health. Most major health insurances will pay for it.”


Follow Akshay Syal on Twitter.


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