January is Cervical Health Awareness Month and there is a lot both men and women can do to prevent cervical cancer, according to the Barry Eaton District Health Department (BDHD).
HPV (human papilloma virus) is a very common virus that spreads through sexual activity. It’s also a major cause of cervical cancer and can also cause anal cancer, throat cancer and genital warts in both men and women.
About 14 million Americans, including teens, become infected with HPV each year, but many people with HPV don’t know they are infected.
The HPV vaccine for men and women, a series of 2 or 3 shots, can prevent HPV and cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular Pap screening tests and follow up care.
Most health insurances pay for the HPV vaccine, including Medicaid. If you or your child’s insurance doesn’t cover the vaccines, contact the Barry-Eaton District Health Department at 517-541-2630 for low-cost vaccine options. For more information, visit www.barryeatonhealth.org or visit us on Facebook @BarryEatonHealth.
For women who cannot afford or need assistance in scheduling cervical cancer screening, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Navigation Program may be able to help. For more about the BCCCNP, call toll free 844-446-8727. //
During National Cervical Health Awareness month of January, BEDHD encourages individuals to talk with their health care provider and stay current on cervical cancer screening.
Also, women are urged to get regular Pap tests starting at 21 and all individuals should check to see if they are eligible for the HPV vaccine.
According to the CDC, nationwide, six out of 10 parents are choosing to get the HPV vaccine for their children. In Barry County, 46.9 percent of females are vaccinated and 41.1 percent of males.
HPV vaccines have been studied very carefully and showed no serious safety concerns, according to the BEDHD.
Common, mild side effects reported include pain in the arm where the shot was given, fever, dizziness and nausea.
The vaccine is most effective when given at the recommended age of 11-12 years so they are protected before being exposed to the virus; however, it can be given to women up to age 26 and men up to age 21.