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South Nassau Communities Hospital Poll Focuses on HPV Vaccination

37% percent of parents do not plan to or are not sure if they will vaccinate all of their children against HPV.

Oceanside, NY, February 01, 2019 --( More than one-third of metro area parents are not aware of CDC recommendations to vaccinate against human papillomavirus ("HPV"), a potentially cancer causing disease, according to the latest South Nassau "Truth in Medicine" Poll, sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union.

Sixty-one percent of parents have or plan to vaccinate all of their children while 37% percent of parents do not plan to or are not sure if they will vaccinate all of their children against HPV. When asked why they do not plan to vaccinate, 56% are unable to answer, indicate they need to gather more information, or did not know it was for boys. Nineteen percent of these parents believe the HPV vaccine is dangerous.

HPV is a very common virus. Nearly 80 million people - both men and women - are currently infected, with approximately 14 million new people becoming infected each year. HPV affects people of all ages, but it is most common among 25-35 year olds. Many people with HPV never develop symptoms and the virus goes away by itself, but for about 1 in 10 people, it can last longer and may cause certain cancers, such as cervical cancer and other diseases and cancers.

The HPV vaccine protects against infection by certain strains of HPV. Most commonly, HPV infection causes nearly all cervical cancers, but it can also cause oral, anal, vaginal and penile cancers. Still, a stigma remains in many communities that the vaccine should only be used on sexually active girls or that it may promote sexual activity in pre-teens and teens.

Sixty-percent of respondents are aware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") recommends boys receive the HPV vaccine; 36% are not aware. The HPV vaccine can be given to boys as well as girls. Gardasil was approved for females in 2006, and for males in 2009. In October 2018, the FDA expanded the use of Gardasil, just one of the HPV vaccines, to adults up to age 45. The vaccine was previously approved only for adolescents and adults up to age 26.

Parents who received the vaccine themselves are most committed to vaccinating their children, although only 13% of these parents were vaccinated and nearly all of them are under 35. Among respondents who have not had the vaccine and are still young enough to receive it based on the new FDA recommendations, only 12% indicate they would consider it now.

The CDC reports that each year HPV causes 33,700 cases of cancer in men and women, including approximately 12,000 cases of cervical cancer, which kills 4,000 people annually. The vaccine can prevent most of the cancers, approximately 31,200 cases, from even forming.

The CDC recommends that all adolescents 11 or 12 years old receive the vaccine before they are exposed to HPV. It is also recommended for females up to age 27 and males up to age 22 if they were not previously vaccinated. For males who have sexual relations with other men, it is recommended up to age 27. The vaccine is given in two doses, although some require three doses.

Poll results vary by race and other demographic indicators like whether or not you live in the city or Long Island. Three-quarters of metro area parents have more to learn about vaccines that prevent HPV. Groups especially in need of more information are black parents and fathers. Men, in particular, are lacking information about the HPV vaccine and its use and effectiveness. Long Island residents had more awareness of the vaccine and the age it should be administered than New York City residents.
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South Nassau Communities Hospital
Damian J. Becker

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