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Ministry targets 20,000 girls for HPV vaccine (with CNC3 video)
The Ministry of Health has targeted 20,000 girls, aged 11 and 12, to receive vaccinations in the first phase of its voluntary HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccination programme. The girls will be targeted through the ministry’s expanded programme of immunisation and district health visitors at primary and secondary schools.
Health Minister Fuad Khan visited the El Socorro South Government Primary School and Sacred Heart Girls’ RC School yesterday to launch the programme. He commended the students and their parents for taking responsibility for the girls’ health by getting the vaccine.
He said: “If we miss the 11 to 12 age group, prior to our girls becoming sexually active, then we increase these girls’ chances of contracting cervical cancer later in their lives. “What this vaccine is doing is giving our young girls a chance to prevent cervical cancer later in their lives. The benefits of taking the HPV vaccine now more than outweigh the problems that they may face with cervical cancer later on.”
The cervical cancer rate in T&T is twice the worldwide average. A study showed that 35.4 per cent of healthy women, age 16 to 65, were HPV-DNA positive in the cervix. The highest prevalence among women is between 25 and 34.
What is HPV?
HPV is a virus affecting both men and women. It is one of the most commonly transmitted sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which can be contracted through contact with infected skin. There are various types of HPV which affect the genital area and can develop into cervical cancer, precancerous lesions or genital warts.
A release from the ministry yesterday said HPV was the cause of 90 per cent of cervical cancer cases globally.
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