“HPV can cause cancer in men and women that can be prevented by a vaccination,” according to Dr. Michael Brumage, health officer for the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and the Putnam County Health Department. Statistics from the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show in 2015 in the 13-17 age range about 40 percent of West Virginia girls and about 27 percent of boys were vaccinated.
HPV vaccine is available at KCHD and PCHD. It is delivered through a series of three injections during a six-month period. HPV can cause pre-cancers that untreated may become cancers. While most people infected with the virus don’t get cancer, “Vaccinations save lives,” according to Brumage.
HPV vaccines do not contain mercury or any other preservative. Few side effects have been reported with the HPV vaccine. West Virginia leads the nation in HPV-associated cancer rates among females, with about 16.3 cases per 100,000 women.