What is HPV?
HPV stands for human papillomavirus, which is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 80 million people are infected with HPV and approximately 14 million become infected each year. Infection with HPV is associated with virtually all cervical cancers as well as many other anogenital, penile, and oropharyngeal cancers, and recently also has been linked to head and neck cancers.
What can be done?
Fortunately, the means to address this public health crisis are at hand with the development of the successful HPV vaccine, distributed as Gardasil. Routine vaccination at age 11 or 12 years has been recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices since 2006 for females and since 2011 for males. Studies all over the world prove that HPV vaccination is effective in reducing viral prevalence, frequency of abnormal Pap smears, and pre-cancers. For example, widespread HPV vaccination would reduce cervical cancer incidence by as much as 90%. And reduce genital warts by as much as 73%. And the vaccine is safe.
So, what’s the problem?
Unfortunately, the vaccine’s promise has not been fully translated into public health. HPV vaccination rates have increased over time, but overall vaccination rates remain suboptimal and are even lower for youth ages 13 and under. For some it is just lack of awareness. Others simply lack access.
So, what can be done? What are HPV Wellness Suite?
For children 12 and under, parents are the key decision makers. However, only 16% of parents have approved and overseen all HPV vaccination shots for their children aged 13 and younger. Parents’ decision-making processes about vaccinating their children have been explored in great detail in recent years, demonstrating that they serve as the primary deciders for their children’s healthcare services. Parents’ Stories illustrates real parents talking through these decisions for their children.
According to the CDC, each year, 19,000 women contract HPV-related cancer cases, 13,800 women are newly diagnosed with costly HPV-related cervical abnormalities, and 4,290 women die from cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is incredibly safe and effective in preventing these diseases in women. Women’s Stories explores these issues, diving into real experiences with women who have suffered from HPV and found relief with the vaccine.
There’s a common belief that only women need the HPV vaccine. This is false. Men can get HPV by having sex with someone who is infected with HPV. This disease is spread easily during anal or vaginal sex, and it can also be spread through oral sex or other close skin-to-skin touching during sex. HPV can be spread even when an infected person has no visible signs or symptoms. Men’s Stories give real examples of men who have had cancer associated with this virus and who have found healing through the vaccine.