January 11, 2018
Jennifer Miller, 608-266-1683
Elizabeth Goodsitt, 608-266-1683

Many Wisconsin Preteens and Teens Are Not Protected Against Certain Cancers Caused by HPV

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month

According to the most recent National Immunization Survey (NIS) data (2016), many of Wisconsin’s teens are not fully protected against the human papillomavirus virus (HPV) because they have not completed the HPV vaccine series. According to the NIS, while 62 percent of 13-17 year olds in Wisconsin have started the HPV vaccine series, only 46 percent have completed it.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the vaccine series be given to boys and girls at age 11 to 12 years for best protection against cancer.

Persistent HPV infections can cause cancers of the oropharynx (back of the throat, base of the tongue, and tonsils) and anus in men and women; cancers of the cervix, vagina, and vulva in women; and cancers of the penis in men.

“By vaccinating pre-teens against HPV today, we are helping to keep them from becoming cancer patients of tomorrow,” said Karen McKeown, State Health Officer. “The bottom line is that the HPV vaccine prevents cancer.”

Parents and caregivers can find out which vaccinations their child needs and at what age on the Wisconsin Immunization Program web page. They can also keep track of the shots their children have had, and shots they may still need through the Wisconsin Immunization Registry.

To help protect against HPV throughout life, women ages 45 to 64 who qualify for the Wisconsin Well Woman Program can get free cervical cancer screenings.

Governor Scott Walker has proclaimed January “Cervical Cancer Awareness Month” in Wisconsin.