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Jewish Healthcare Foundation

HPV Vaccination Initiative

Despite being a solution to human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and its potential for serious disease, the HPV vaccine - which can protect the next generation against serious HPV-related conditions - has been poorly utilized.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV infection is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are about 14 million new cases of HPV infections in the U.S. each year, with 74% of them occurring in 15 to 24 year olds. The majority of persons infected with HPV develop no symptoms, typically not even realizing they are infected, so they may unknowingly transmit the virus to others. For some, HPV can cause serious health problems, including genital warts and cervical, anogenital, and oropharyngeal cancers.

The CDC identified HPV as one of their five most urgent health priorities for 2014. JHF considers increasing HPV vaccination among the youth in our region to be a high priority; and we have joined forces with the Eye and Ear Foundation to educate and mobilize our community towards increased HPV vaccination among pre-teens in our region.

ON AUGUST 20, JHF ANNOUNCED THE FORMATION OF A PITTSBURGH CHAPTER OF GRANDMOTHER POWER. Grandmother Power is not an organization, but a movement. It is groups of activist grandmothers in countries that include Finland, the United States, Kenya, Canada, and India. They're working on separate issues in different countries and communities, but they all have a common goal: providing a better future for grandchildren around the world. The new chapter's initial focus will be on reducing cervical and other cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) by increasing the vaccination rate. If you are interested in becoming part of the movement, please contact Sue Steele at steele@jhf.org.

HPV VACCINE SAFETY: The HPV vaccine has been controversial because of rumored side effects, including blood clots, strokes, and seizures. However, STUDIES HAVE SHOWN NO CAUSE-AND-EFFECT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE HPV VACCINE AND THESE SIDE EFFECTS. A 2014 study of more than 1.6 million women (published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association), for example, found no link between Gardasil and the dangerous clotting disorder that some press was reporting. Other studies, such as the one done by Kaiser Permanente, provide evidence that HPV vaccinated girls are no more likely to be sexually active than unvaccinated girls (another reported concern).

Visit our HPV microsite (hpvpittsburgh.org) for information on the HPV virus and vaccine, FAQs, news and resources, and ways that you can take action to prevent cancer in your community.

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