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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Cervical Cancer Awareness Month: HPV vaccine crucial in prevention

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Monday, January 22, 2024   

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and a vaccine for young people can reduce the risk of developing this disease.

Cervical cancer typically occurs in women between the ages of 20 and 50.

Dr. Monika Wells is an internal medicine physician with Kaiser Permanente in Seattle. She said human papillomavirus, or HPV, is connected to cervical cancer - but a vaccine is available for the disease.

"It's vaccine-preventable cancer, which was pretty exciting when we discovered this in medicine, in medical history," said Wells, "because a vaccine that can prevent cancer is phenomenal."

While HPV vaccination rates have been rising steadily, a study found rates stalled in 2022 at 76% for 13- to 17-year-olds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends young people get the vaccine at age 11 or 12, although they can get it as early as nine.

Wells said this ensures people have the vaccine before they become sexually active.

"The goal is to administer a vaccine before exposure," said Wells. "And so, the HPV virus is predominantly sexually transmitted, and it's spread through skin-to-skin contact with someone who is infected."

Wells said there's room for growth around HPV vaccination rates for boys and men, who have their own risks from the disease.

"Men can transmit HPV to their women partners," said Wells. "So there's that reason. But then, men also have their own risks of having the HPV virus, including genital warts, but also anal and oral cancers."



Disclosure: Kaiser Health Plan of Washington Project contributes to our fund for reporting on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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