Roughly 80 million people in the U.S. are currently infected with Human Papillomavirus (HPV). So health officials are focusing their energy on raising awareness about the importance of the vaccine.
Disease Prevention Specialist Jennifer Stiles with the Cerro Gordo County Department of Public Health said, "HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease out there and if we can prevent people from getting genital warts, or other sexually transmitted diseases, we can prevent people from getting cancer."
HPV vaccines were introduced in 2007 and more than 6 million doses have been given. "The HPV vaccine requires three shots spaced throughout the year and it is absolutely vital that all three doses of the HPV vaccine are received," Dr Young, Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service said.
HPV causes genital warts, cervical infections leading to cancer in women, and anal cancers. HPV also causes male genital cancers.
Studies show a 77% reduction in HPV types responsible for almost 75% of cervical cancer; an almost 50% reduction in high-grade cervical abnormalities in Victorian girls under 18 years of age; and a 90% reduction in genital warts in heterosexual men and women under 21 years of age.