Cleveland Journal

Protect yourself against HPV

Dakaria Heru, Staff reporter

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The Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the U.S. It’s also one of the least talked about. Whether you’re sexually active or not, the conversation surrounding HPV is not often had, making it an important one.

HPV is so common that nearly all sexually active men and women will get it at some point in their lives. It can be passed through any sort of sexual contact, even oral. The disease can be transmitted even when the infected person doesn’t show any symptoms. Sometimes it can take years to show any signs. There are many different strains of the virus, some that lead to genital warts and cancer. But there is a way to protect yourself.

The vaccine against HPV protects against nine harmful strains. It is given in a series of three shots, all taken at different times. Once the first shot is administered, there is a two-month waiting period for the next one; six months for the final dose.

According to Vaccines for Children Program Manager Celia Thomas with King County’s Public Health office, six high school and two middle schools in the Seattle area take part in offering the HPV vaccine. Cleveland is one of them.

While there is controversy around the vaccine, it is not about the drug itself. Most of the debate stems from the idea that it’s “permission to have sex.” Having sex is already a big enough deal. If you decide to take that leap, you should take the precautions to protect yourself and your partner by getting the HPV shot.

Students who wish to have the shot can do so for free through the Teen Health Center. You do not need parental consent.

Overall your health is in your hands. The vaccine may come off as invasive to parents, but the risk of not taking it outweighs the cons.

The writing staff of The Journal agreed to support the HPV vaccine after meeting with Celia Thomas from King County Office of Public Health and Pamela Lyon from the Teen Health Center and weighing the pros and cons of the vaccine.

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Protect yourself against HPV