In 2007, a lot of studies were released showing that the prevalence of the human papillomavirus (HPV) among young women was way more than anybody could have expected (almost half!). For those of you who don’t know, HPV is the virus that causes genital warts and puts you at a very high risk for cervical cancer.
Most sexually active teens will wind up with HPV, unless they take the extra precaution of getting an HPV vaccine. Condoms don’t protect against it completely, so even if you are all about safer sex, you should still go to your local reproductive health clinic and get yourself set up for the shot.
It’s only a few pricks, but it could easily save your life. And girls 9-18 years old can get it free through the Allegheny County Health Department.
Oakland Immunization Walk in Clinic (3441 Forbes Avenue) Hours of Operation: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday, 1 to 8 p.m.
So girls, if you want to give yourself a big gift this holiday season, give yourself the gift of immunity against HPV. The earlier the better (message for parents: this immunization is recommended for kids 11-12 years old, as teens may contract HPV on their first sexual encounter), so make sure you educate yourself about the HPV vaccine and make the smart choice for your health.
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