Student Health Services is working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to give students and faculty free Gardasil vaccinations for human papilloma virus. Recipients must be between ages 19 and 26 and have no insurance to receive this vaccination.
“We were approached by KDHE to submit a proposal to offer HPV vaccinations to select students,” said Shirley Dinkel, director of SHS. We were excited about this collaboration because vaccination is a very effective way to prevent complications of HPV but are expensive.”
HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections, transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. HPV can infect the genitals, mouth and throat of anyone who comes into contact with it. Condoms help protect against HPV if used appropriately. However, HPV can infect areas of the skin not covered by a condom.
“I think it’s great that they are offering these vaccinations to Washburn students and faculty,” said Jessica Cooper, junior nursing major. “It’s a good opportunity for Washburn and for nursing students.”
According to the CDC and John Hopkins Medical Center, it is estimated that 20 million people currently have HPV; up to 90 percent of these cases resolve on their own when a person has a healthy immune system. Among women, there are approximately 12,000 women diagnosed with cervical cancer and 4,000 women die from the disease in the U.S. every year. Up to 80 percent of cancers of the head and neck are associated with HPV.
Genital warts is one of the bigger symptoms of HPV. Genital warts are not life threatening but can cause emotional stress. Treatment is also painful. Women can get HPV on their cervix unknowingly. However, most people do not have symptoms of HPV. If left untreated, HPV can cause serious health problems like cervix, vulva, vagina, penis or anus cancer.
Gardasil does not treat established HPV infections. Gardasil is the only HPV vaccine that helps protect against four types of HPV. In girls and young women ages 9 to 26, Gardasil helps protect against two types of HPV that cause about 75 percent of cervical cancer cases, and two more types that cause about 90 percent of genital warts cases. In boys and young men ages 9 to 26, Gardasil helps protect against approximately 90 percent of genital warts cases. All Washburn students are eligible to visit SHS in Morgan Hall room 170 free-of-charge with a valid WU ID. No appointment is necessary for the vaccination.
“Currently, vaccinations are available to eligible students, faculty and staff at WU and WUTech for the 2013-2014 academic year,” said Dinkel. “If additional supplies become available through KDHE, we will continue to offer vaccinations.”