The CDC recommends that boys and girls 11-12 years old get the vaccine as preteens as they have a higher immune response to the vaccine at that age. Additionally, boys and girls 9-14 only need 2 doses of the vaccine 6 months apart, compared to teens and young adults (ages 15-26) who need 3 doses of the vaccine.
According to the Colorado Cancer Coalition, only 42% of Colorado girls and 22% of Colorado boys aged 13-17 were vaccinated against HPV in 2015. With early diagnosis and treatment, the lifetime risk of invasive cervical cancer for a Colorado female has dropped to 1 in 191 women. To protect against cancers caused by HPV infections, the HPV vaccination can be given to both males and females between ages 9-26.
The Denver Metro Alliance for HPV Prevention is a collaborative project working to decrease rates of the Human Papillomavirus across the great Denver metropolitan area. The regional collaborative includes Denver Public Health, Jefferson County Public Health, Tri-County Health Department, the Colorado Children’s Immunization Coalition, and the Adult and Child Consortium for Health Outcomes Research and Delivery Science. For more information about HPV Prevention visit this webpage.
In recognition of National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, the CDC recommends women between the ages of 21 and 65 get screened for cervical cancer.
There are two tests that can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early:
- The Pap test (of Pap smear) looks for precancers, which are cell changes on the cervix that might become cervical cancer if they are not treated appropriately.
- The HPV test looks for the virus that can cause these cell changes.
Women should start getting Pap tests regularly at age 21. If you are 30 years old or older, you may choose to have an HPV test along with the Pap test. Both tests can be performed by your healthcare provider at the same time. If your test results are normal, your chance of getting cervical cancer in the next few years is very low. If you have questions or would like to schedule a Pap test call the Jefferson County Public Health Lakewood Clinic at 303-239-7078. Jefferson County Public Health is also a participating member in the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Women’s Wellness Connection(WWC) Care Coordination Grant Program (CCGP). The program increases breast and cervical cancer screening rates in Colorado by helping insured women navigate breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnosis.
Join Jefferson County Public Health in honoring National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month by being proactive about your health, help prevent HPV and Cervical Cancer.