Tuesday, May 15, 2007 - 9:10am
Available Free at Public Health Clinics
Madison, WI, Monday, May 14, 2007 - Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. While 80% of all women will have gotten the HPV virus by age 50, the majority will never know that they have it. In most cases, the virus goes away on its own without causing any damage. But in some cases, HPV can infect a woman's cervix and cause cells to change. If these changes are not detected and treated, they can lead to cervical cancer over time. Cervical cancer is the 11th most common cancer among women in the US, with approximately 10,000 new cases each year. Pap tests are designed to detect these early changes. Genital warts caused by HPV can be treated and removed by a physician.
The HPV vaccine became available in many medical clinics in 2006. It is highly effective against four types of the HPV virus - two that cause about 70 percent of cervical cancer and two that cause about 90 percent of genital warts. The vaccine, along with the use of condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners represents an effective way to protect women from the virus.
The vaccine has been approved for use in females 9 through 26 years of age. Eleven and 12 year old girls are especially being encouraged to get this vaccine, since it is most protective before sexual activity has begun.
The good news is that the HPV vaccine is now available free of charge to 11 and 12 year old girls at walk-in clinics throughout Dane County. These clinics are operated by the Department of Public Health for Madison and Dane County.
According to Cheryl Robinson, manager of Immunization and HIV/STI Programs for Public Health, "This is a real opportunity for families who might not otherwise have access to this vaccine. Without medical insurance, this is a very expensive option. We encourage those with medical insurance to get the vaccine through their health care provider or clinic and hope that families with 11 and 12 year old girls who do not have insurance would take advantage of the free vaccine through public health." She added "the families that wish to get this vaccine should know that the child must be accompanied by a parent or guardian."
For information on clinic location and schedules, call 246-4516.
For more information on the HPV vaccine see the link provided.
- Jeff Golden, 243-0302