According to studies, the highest human papillomavirus (HPV) prevalence in the United States is among college students. This makes college students a target for HPV vaccination and prevention campaigns. Student Health Services has provided doses of the vaccine since 2006. Most insurance plans cover the vaccines, depending on the student’s plan.
Student Health Services Medical Director Jodi Egeland said people ages 9 to 14 should get two doses 6-12 months apart. People ages 15 to 26 should get three doses over six months.
“Some adults aged 27 through 45 who were not already vaccinated might choose to get the HPV vaccine after speaking with their doctor about their risk for new HPV infections and the possible benefits of vaccination for them,” said Egeland. “HPV vaccination of adults provides less benefit because more people in this age range have been exposed to HPV already.”
HPV is a viral infection commonly resulting in skin or mucous membrane growths (warts). There are over 100 different types of HPV. Some HPV infections result in warts, while others can lead to various types of cancer.
Egeland said, “Only cervical cancer can be detected early with a screening test. The other cancers caused by HPV may not be detected until they are more serious. HPV vaccination prevents infections that cause these cancers.”
Egeland said she strongly encourages students to get vaccinated as HPV can cause many types of cancers. There are many types of cancers, mainly affecting the genitals and throat in both men and women.
“The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) said that 85% of people will get an HPV infection in their lifetime. Almost every unvaccinated, sexually active person will get HPV in their lifetime. About 13 million Americans, including teens, become infected with HPV each year,” said Egeland. “Most HPV infections will go away on their own. But infections that don’t go away can cause certain types of cancer.”
Egeland also mentioned a study in Scotland in the Journal of the National Cancer Insitute that talked about the real-world impact of vaccines against HPV.
“The country has detected no cases of cervical cancer in women born between 1988 and 1996 who were fully vaccinated against HPV between the ages of 12 and 13,” said Egeland. “The study also points to how crucial the timing of vaccination is. ‘The girls that didn’t develop any cancer were vaccinated before becoming sexually active.’”
Egeland said that the Student Health Services provides many other sexual health treatments, such as full-service STI screenings. Students can talk with any of the medical providers on campus for resources or concerns they have. The Student Health Services is in the lower level of Carkoski Commons. Students can set up an appointment for the vaccine in the patient portal on the Student Health Services website.
Photo caption: Student Health Services offers vaccinations against HPV. Getting vaccinated helps prevent several types of cancer. (File photo)
Write to Lauren Viska at email@example.com