PPSNE Recognizes Cervical Health Awareness Month In January

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (NNS) -- The Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center (NMCPHC) announced Jan. 14, that resources are now available on their website in support of the Cervical Health Awareness Month.

January is Cervical Health Awareness Month. Integral to the promotion of cervical health is increasing awareness about Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

According to the National Institutes of Health, each year in the U.S. more than 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and about 4,000 die as a result.

According to Michael R. (Bob) MacDonald, manager of the Sexual Health and Responsibility Program (SHARP) at NMCPHC, women, beginning at age 21, can reduce their risk of cervical cancer by seeking routine Papanicolaou ("Pap") tests to identify cervical cell changes early and enable prompt treatment. MacDonald also recommends that women, aged 26 and younger, should seek HPV vaccination, which can protect against the HPV types that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers.

"What's less known about HPV is that men are at risk too," said MacDonald. "Because 85 percent of Sailors and Marines are men, it's not uncommon for Navy health care professionals to be asked about HPV by their male patients."

According to MacDonald HPV is very common in women and men. But most people who become infected will not be harmed by the virus.

In men, HPV can cause genital warts and some cancers of the penis, anus, head, neck and throat. Although there is no approved HPV test for men, the HPV vaccine can protect men (and women) from HPV types that cause most genital warts and some of these cancers. The vaccination involves 3 doses over a six month period. The vaccine is very safe and highly effective. Male Sailors and Marines are not offered HPV vaccination during boot camp and may or may not be offered during their Periodic Health Assessment (PHA.)

"If you're 26 or younger, ask your health care provider about the HPV vaccine," said MacDonald. "Condoms, used correctly and every time, can reduce a person's likelihood of getting or spreading HPV - and other sexually transmitted infections."

More information about HPV is available on the NMCPHC-SHARP webpage at: http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcphc/health-promotion/reproductive-sexual-health/Pages/HPV-prevention-resources.aspx

Additional information for men is available from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv-and-men.htm

For more news from Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center, visit www.navy.mil/local/nmcphc/.

Source : http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=85197

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