Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (02.07.2014)
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that two health organizations recently initiated a new human papillomavirus (HPV) public awareness campaign to get more youth inoculated with the HPV vaccine. The Jewish Healthcare Foundation and the Eye and Ear Foundation of Pittsburgh teamed up to overcome the low vaccination rate against HPV, an STD infection that can cause several different cancers, and that federal health officials have called one of the leading health threats for 2014. The most common cancer associated with HPV is cervical cancer, but it also is associated with genital and oral cancers and genital warts.
A vaccine for HPV, which is the most common STD in the United States, has been available for more than decade, but the percentage of adolescents that receive the vaccine is still relatively low. According to CDC estimates, only one-third of girls and seven percent of boys received the complete three-dose vaccine. Despite the high efficacy rate, lack of understanding about the vaccine and physician reluctance to urge parents to get the vaccine for their adolescents were mentioned as top reasons for the low inoculation rate.
"There are so many issues that we don't have a solution for," said Karen Feinstein, president and CEO of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. "It's troubling to have a solution we're not using." Other health advocates urge the medical community to make the HPV vaccine as standard as other childhood vaccines, such as polio or diphtheria.