January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and Sunshine Community Health Center wants you to know that there’s a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer.
HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don’t know they are infected. HPV is also a major cause of cervical cancer. Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.
The good news?
- The HPV vaccine (shot) can prevent HPV.
- Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests (called Pap tests) and follow-up care.
In honor of National Cervical Health Awareness Month, Sunshine Community Health Center encourages:
- Women to start getting regular Pap tests at age 21
- Parents to make sure pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12
Teens and young adults also need to get the HPV vaccine if they didn’t get it as preteens. Women up to age 26 and men up to age 21 can still get the vaccine.
You and your family members may be able to get these preventative screenings or immunizations at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company to learn more. Taking small steps can help keep you safe and healthy.
- Get the facts about gynecologic cancer: Cervical Facts Flyer
- HPV affects men, too. Find out how you can protect yourself and your partner: HPV and Men Fact Sheet
- PAP and HPV tests; what are they, how to prepare and what do the results mean: National Cervical Cancer Coalition
- Both boys and girls need the #HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12: HPV Vaccines