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HPV vaccine offered by Union County Health Dept.

By Elisabeth Dodd, Staff Writer

The Union County Health Department offers a variety of vaccines to the public, but one of the most underutilized services is the Human Papillomavirus vaccine, Public Health Nurse Kim Klein would like to change that and raise awareness for why this vaccine is necessary.

“HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses and each is given a number which is called HPV type. HPV is named for the warts or papillomas some HPV types can cause,” according to the Center for Disease Control. The same source emphasizes that HPV is the most common STI and that some people may never see any symptoms or have symptoms appear years later. HPV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.

“HPV causes over 33,700 cases of cancer in men and women every year in the U.S. HPV vaccination can prevent over 90 percent of these cancers from ever developing by preventing the infections that cause those cancers” according to the Center for Disease Control.

Commonly associated with cervical cancer, HPV can also cause cancers in intimate areas, the throat, base of the tongue, and tonsils.

“Getting the HPV vaccine for your child now is better than treating HPV cancer latter in life,” said Klein.

Those interested in coming to the UC Health Department for a vaccine for themselves or their child should know that the ideal age to get the vaccine is between ages 11 and 12-years-old however people can still receive the vaccine until they are 26-years-old. One advantage of getting the vaccine early, other than preventive strategies work better earlier rather than later, is that if someone receives the vaccine before they are 15-years-old, then it is only two doses rather than three.

People who are eligible for the department's Vaccines for Children Program are people 19-years-old and under if they are underinsured, uninsured or on Medicaid. There is also an adult vaccination program for those in the same financial position, and the department takes commercial insurance.

“We do a lot of vaccines here and we can pretty much take care of about most people,” said Klein “We want to increase public awareness.”