The HPV Vaccine: What’s Stopping SC?
by Sarah Nichols on Aug 31, 2018
In 2016, South Carolina ranked as having the lowest HPV vaccination rates in the country. To us at WREN (and to many others), we found this data concerning. As of a newly released 2017 study, we are no longer 50th in HPV vaccination rates, thankfully, and we have made some improvements statewide. But there is still a lot of room for improvement.
But first, let’s rewind and go back to the basics.
Last Friday, we talked with Dr. Beth Sundstrom of the College of Charleston’s Women’s Health Research Team to discuss some of the basics of HPV, the vaccine, and the behaviors surrounding it in SC.
Watch the full discussion here:
We are LIVE now with Dr. Beth Sundstrom of CofC's Women's Health Research Team to discuss the HPV vaccine in SC! Comment with your questions and a 💉 emoji if you're watching! #FacebookLiveFridays #HPVvaxNOW
Posted by Women's Rights and Empowerment Network- WREN on Friday, August 24, 2018
Here are some helpful basics that Beth shared with us:
- HPV is the Human Papillomavirus. According to the CDC, HPV infections are so common that nearly all men and women will get HPV at some point in their lives.
- Most HPV infections clear without treatment, but the ones that don’t can lead to genital warts and numerous cancers in both men and women. This is where the vaccine becomes so important.
- The vaccination is recommended for both boys and girls around 11-12 years old, and if you get it at that age, it comes in 2 doses, 6 months apart.
- Those who are older than 14 will need 3 shots, and it is safe for women to receive their dosage of shots up until age 26, and for men, age 21.
- The HPV vaccination is cancer prevention. The vaccine provides almost 100% protection from the 9 HPV types if the doses are received at the correct intervals.
- The HPV vaccine is safe; there were no serious safety concerns brought up during clinical trials.
- The 2016 Cervical Prevention Act allows parents access to information about the HPV and the HPV vaccine by providing educational materials to parents.
- Barriers include access to healthcare, access to information, cost, moral or religious concerns about sexual activity, and sensational coverage of adverse side effects.
And some myths to bust:
- HPV and the vaccine aren’t just a “girl’s” issue; men are more than twice as likely to get the most common types of HPV-associated cancers.
- Sexual Activity: Although parents and healthcare providers have expressed this concern, there is evidence that the HPV vaccination does not increase sexual activity and risk behaviors among teens.
- Safety: The HPV vaccination has been shown to be just as safe—if not safer—as all of the other recommended childhood vaccines, and just as effective.
How can you do your part?
Share this post to provide education, dispel myths, and encourage those around you to get and support the HPV vaccine. And continue the conversation with us! Follow WREN, the Women’s Health Research Team, HPV Vaccination Now South Carolina and SC Cancer Alliance on social media.