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4 Reasons to Implement HPV Prevention Programs in Schools

Did you know that most forms of cervical cancers are related to or originates from human papillomavirus (HPV)?

Most adults or individuals, who have been sexually active experience HPV infection at some point in their lifetime. Although there are approximately 150 types of HPV, most of which heal on their own, sometimes, the infection can result in severe health issues. Every year, on an average 14 million people suffer from HPV and some don’t even realize that they are suffering from an infection. When the infection doesn’t heal naturally, it causes genital warts, cancer, and other health problems.

HPV prevention programs and vaccination reduces the impact of the virus significantly. Young adults or teens should receive the vaccine for enhanced immune response toward HPV infection. Additionally, proper HPV prevention school sessions should be delivered to ensure proper understanding of HPV-related health issues and encourage students to suffering from it to come forward and seek medical attention.

Who Should Attend the HPV Prevention Programs?

According to The American Cancer Society, boys and girls of the age of 11 to 12 years are at the ideal age for receiving the HPV vaccination. This is also the right age for them to get enrolled in the HPV prevention program. However, The American Cancer Society believes that vaccination can also be initiated or received at the age of 9.

Apart from young adults, HPV vaccination is suggested to:

  • Males and females of the age of 13-26, who have not received the vaccination or the full course of HPV.
  • 26-year-old or younger males, who are sexually active with other males.
  • Individuals, who have a weak immune system – if they have not been vaccinated previously.

Ideally, children of the age of 11 to 16 should participate in HPV prevention programs. The intervention should be focused on educating young adults about the causes and adverse effects of the HPV infection, how it can be treated and healed. The parameters of how the infection spreads and who is susceptible to its negative impact should also be explained.

How Does the Infection Spread?

Since most of the people experience HPV infection once in their lifetime, it is essential to deliver knowledge of how HPV spreads. Here are the common ways through which HPV infection spreads:

  • Skin-to-skin contact which occurs when in contact with an infected body part of the individual.
  • Sexual contact with an infected individual.

The infection doesn’t spread through food, swimming pools, or toilet seats.

4 Reasons to Implement HPV Prevention Program

Knowledge of both HPV prevention program and vaccination can help individuals, who do not have any sexual experience. Even people who are already sexually active or have suffered from HPV infection in the past can take precautions from preventing it in the future with vaccination. Though the vaccine and prevention program won’t help in alleviating the symptoms of an existing HPV infection, it can strengthen your immune system response to future HPV attacks.

We have listed out a few reasons why every school or educational authority should implement an HPV prevention program.

1. HPV Infection is Common

An HPV infection is extremely common. People, who have been in skin-to-skin contact with an infected person or have had sex with an infected individual can receive the virus easily. Most of the times, the infection will cure in due time and the individuals won’t even realize the presence of the virus. However, at other times, it leads to severe reactions or health issues such as vaginal, cervical, or vulvar cancer in women, penile cancer in men, and throat or anal cancer in both men and women.

2. Vaccination Can Prevent Infections

The vaccination for HPV was introduced more than 10 years ago. Since then, the occurrence of HPV infection has decreased in young adults to a great extent. Vaccination can boost our immune system to fight the infection and stop it from converting into a dangerous or fatal illness. HPV vaccination additionally helps in protecting the individual from meningitis, whooping cough, and other such illnesses.

3. Vaccination Can Prevent Cancer

In the US, HPV alone is the reason for over 33,700 cancer cases and vaccination can reduce the count by approximately 90%. In fact, the risk of all the types of cancers originating from the HPV virus can be reduced with HPV vaccination.

4. Long-Term Safety

The United States alone accounts for 100 million HPV vaccine doses. It decreases the risks of fatal HPV-related health problems and boosts the functioning of the immune system to fight infection. However, there are some side-effects of the vaccination, which should be explained to students during HPV prevention programs. This is necessary to ensure medical guidance in case any child suffers side-effects.

What Does Research Say?

A study or program carried out to spread awareness about human papillomavirus infection involved secondary school children of 16 years. In total, 832 students or young adults were invited to attend the intervention, of which 751 showed up. Of the 741 that completed the study or interview showed signs of improvement.

To all these students, nurses dispersed the knowledge regarding HPV infection, how it spreads, how it leads to cancer and other illnesses, and how it can be prevented. During these sessions, the students were also taught about the importance of using a condom for preventing HPV infection. As a result, significant improvement was seen in form of increased condom use with a new partner and many girls from the intervention group got vaccinated for enhanced protection against HPV.

In one of the research, 51 individual intervention studies were evaluated and divided into two groups- 31 environmental studies and 18 behavioral studies. The environmental studies were found to be more effective in increasing access to HPV vaccination. These studies reached a wider set of audience.

The behavioral studies were successful in a small community or group, where the preventive and safety measures were promoted along with knowledge on HPV vaccination.


To enable young adults and students to receive HPV vaccination and use preventive measures, proper educational intervention is required. Without the necessary knowledge, it is unlikely for young adults or teens to seek optimal prevention methods. Hence, school authorities can play a major role in implementing HPV prevention programs in order to promote safe sexual behavior and proper vaccination.

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All You Need to Know About HPV Prevention

All You Need to Know About HPV Prevention

HPV or human papillomavirus is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. With over 40 kinds of sexually transmitted HPV, 20 million individuals in the US alone are infected with this virus. Usually, the virus doesn’t lead to severe symptoms. But, in some cases, it can even cause severe diseases such as cervical cancer in women, which is why HPV prevention is essential.

What Is HPV?

As the name suggests, HPV is a virus that spreads when two individuals come into skin-to-skin contact with each other. From 100+ types of HPV, approximately 40 are transmitted through sexual contact and affect different parts of the body such as the mouth, genitals, and the throat.

Other HPV infections are less severe and don’t affect the genitals. These can be commonly transmitted through the hands and feet, for example by going into a public shower without slippers.

Due to the ease through which this disease can be contracted, most sexually active individuals have it at some point in their life. This is true even when an individual has fewer sexual partners. However, since the virus goes away on its own generally, many people don’t even notice the occurrence.

Causes of HPV Infection

HPV can be contracted through any type of sexual contact such as oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse. This can happen even when the partner doesn’t show any visible signs or symptoms of HPV infection. But, the virus is transmitted mostly through skin-to-skin contact, which means that it can be contracted even without sexual intercourse.

In some cases, an HPV infected mother can give it to her child during delivery or breastfeeding. Sometimes people even carry the virus in their mouth – so even kissing can spread the virus to another person.

The virus, however, cannot be transmitted through toilet seats, pools, hot tubs, or when you share food with someone.

Symptoms of HPV

Most types of HPV infections don’t show visible signs and symptoms, which is why many people don’t even realize that they have HPV. This is also the reason HPV is spread easily through contact with sexual partners.

When the virus doesn’t get cured naturally, it can cause serious health problems including throat or genital warts or even cancer. It can cause small bumps around the genital area, throat, head, or neck. Contracting HPV doesn’t always lead to cancer, but women can develop cervical cancer within a few months of getting infected with the virus.

Risk Factors for HPV

There is no way of knowing beforehand whether or not HPV infection will cause a health problem or any type of health issue. However, individuals who have a weak immune system are at higher risks of suffering from health issues due to HPV.

HPV Prevention Tips

Since the virus is spread through skin-to-skin contact, the easiest way of HPV prevention is to limit the number of sexual partners and use condoms during sexual intercourse.

Another effective method of HPV prevention is to get vaccinated for the virus, as this will protect you from many types of HPV infection.

The only way to avoid giving HPV to someone else is to avoid contracting it in the first place. Hence, be careful during sexual intercourse, don’t go barefoot in public showers, and get vaccinated as early as possible.

Treatment for HPV

When HPV prevention fails, many individuals contract the virus. so you should definitely go for a Pap test if you observe unusual bumps around your throat, head, or genitals. In cases where the Pap test isn’t normal, these treatments can be used:

  • Colposcopy involves closely examining the cervix to observe the development of precancerous cells.
  • Cryotherapy involves eliminating precancerous cells from the cervix area.
  • Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure involves eliminating precancerous cells through electrical current.

HPV can’t be cured but the various prevention methods discussed above can be used to avoid the virus infection.

Facts about HPV

  • There is a high chance that you have already had HPV. As many people don’t exhibit symptoms, most get infected by the virus and then transmit it. Usually, the virus is cured on its own without any external intervention.
  • Use of condoms can reduce the risk of contracting the virus, but it doesn’t eliminate it totally. The virus can live in or around the pubic hair or scrotum, which can be contracted even with the use of condoms.
  • The HPV virus can stay inactive or dormant for years before finally showing symptoms or leading to cancerous growth.
  • Since smoking is known to reduce the efficacy of the immune system, it increases the risk of HPV.
  • HPV prevention is possible through vaccination but it can’t cure people who already have it. This makes it important to get a Pap test even when you have been vaccinated.

Who Should Get Vaccinated For HPV?

Individuals who are between the ages of 9 and 45 years can receive vaccination for HPV to prevent the development of cancerous cells or genital warts. However, it is preferable that children receive the vaccination when they are 11 or 12 years old. Parents and school authorities can encourage students to get vaccinated early so that they can stay protected against the HPV virus in later years.


HPV is a very common disease that can be easily contracted by individuals. Hence, getting vaccinated and being careful during sexual intercourse is essential for HPV prevention. This can be taught to young children in schools during sex education sessions. It will help educate them about the impact of the virus on the body.

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