Physicians stress to students importance of getting HPV vaccine
Two HPV awareness events including a screening of the film “Someone You Love” and an HPV panel discussion were hosted by the Student Government Association this week.
HPV is short for Human Papillomavirus and is a widespread sexually transmitted infection. The events hosted by SGA were aimed to bring awareness to the Gardasil 9 vaccine, which can prevent contracting specific HPV strains and the potential cancers that can follow.
“Someone You Love” was shown Monday night in the Student Center Theater and followed the stories of four women’s experiences with HPV. The documentary explained how HPV not only affected their health, but their emotions and relationships as well.
“The documentary screening actually goes through the lives of four women who were diagnosed with different types of HPV related cancers,” said SGA Deputy Chief of Staff Tania Hameed. “It was to help connect in students’ minds, while this is very common, 80 percent of the population in America have HPV already.”
The HPV panel discussion was led by local physicians Dr. Lois Ramondetta from MD Anderson Cancer Center and Dr. Patricia Hayes from Legacy Community Health.
Ramondetta and Hayes each opened up about their own experience and insight on HPV and then did a Q&A.
“There is a safe, effective and long lasting vaccine that has been FDA approved since 2006 that’s available, and we are only vaccinating about half the population for complete protection,” Ramondetta said.
The Gardasil 9 vaccine works to prevent outbreaks of HPV that can be contracted through human contact.
“What you need to know about HPV is that everybody will be exposed, it’s a very unusual person who doesn’t get exposed to HPV,” Ramondetta said. “If you are a human being who has an intimate relationship with somebody, at one point in your life you’re going to be exposed.”
The panel discussed how some parents are hesitant to vaccinate their children out of fear of providing their child an incentive to have sexual relations.
However, Hayes said it’s important to vaccinate children young, whether or not if they plan on engaging in intimate relations in the near future.
“With our younger patients, parents are always concerned that this provides them motivation to then be sexually promiscuous,” Hayes said. “This is something that if you’re not vaccinated, you’re very likely to get. You want to vaccinate earlier, because eventually you will likely engage in sexual intercourse with somebody.”