KNPR State of Nevada: Immunize Nevada Launches HPV Vaccine Campaign

When we hear about HPV – the more common term for the human papillomavirus, the conversation usually focuses on young women and the risk of cervical cancer.

In reality, HPV is a much larger health issue for women and men. Some even go so far as to say it is a crisis. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States, with 79 million Americans infected with HPV, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Approximately 14 million new cases develop each year. That means a majority of sexually active people will acquire HPV at some point in their lives. The CDC recommends the HPV vaccine for boys and girls at ages 12 and 13 so they can develop an immune response to the virus before becoming sexually active.

While HPV infections may disappear on their own within a couple years, having the virus increases the risk of developing cervical, penile and anal cancers.

“We vaccinate so that children have the best protection possible long before they are exposed to an infection, as is the case with measles and the other recommended childhood vaccines,” said Heidi Parker, executive director of Immunize Nevada.

HPV vaccination rates in Nevada lag behind the national average. For teen girls in Nevada, 27 percent are getting the full series of shots compared to 33 percent nationally. For teen boys, only 7 percent in Nevada are vaccinated against HPV, compared to 14 percent nationally. Parker described the HPV vaccine as “cancer prevention.”

Listen to the full interview here


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