Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that is spread to another person by skin-to-skin contact in the genital area. Many people get HPV and do not have symptoms but can spread the virus to others. HPV is most common in young women and men who are in their late teens and early 20’s. Some types of HPV can infect a woman’s cervix and can cause cervical dysplasia, which leads to cancer over time, if not treated.
The only sure protection against HPV infection is lifelong abstinence or a monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner. However, a new vaccine can now protect females (age 9 to 26) from four major types of HPV, which can lead to cervical cancer and genital warts. The vaccine is given as a series of three shots over six months and is recommended for all 11 and 12 year old girls and all girls and women 13-26 years of age who did not receive it when they were younger.
For additional information, please contact your school nurse or visit your local physician.
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