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Study says Texas is lagging behind with HPV vaccines

A new study from the University of Texas System says that Texas is lagging behind with HPV vaccines.

Human papilloma virus (HPV) has long been associated with cervical cancer in women. Now, the National Cancer Institute says it causes:

35% of penile cancers
50% of vulvar cancers
65% of vaginal cancers
70% of oropharyngeal cancers (cancers of the middle part of
the throat, including the soft palate, the base of the tongue,
and the tonsils)
95% of the anal cancers

The HPV is transmitted mainly by sexual contact, but its forms more dangerous are essentially preventable with widely available vaccines.

Still, Texas has the fifth lowest vaccination rate in the nation.

Dr. Seth Sullivan, an infectious disease specialist at Baylor Scott & Health, and the alternative health authority of the Brazos County Health Department, says the low vaccination rate could be due to the perceived implications with respect to HPV.

"It can definitely be an uncomfortable conversation to have with your child, because this is a sexually transmitted disease," Sullivan said. "But it's important to have it."

Sullivan says that, from a medical point of view, the reward is much greater than the risk.

"This is a vaccine that has been around for a long time, it has been investigated extensively," Sullivan said. "And it can prevent cancer, the benefit is huge and the risk is basically nonexistent."

For the complete conversation with Sullivan, see the previous video player. To obtain the full report on the study of the UT system, see the related links.

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