Students can receive the first of a series of vaccines for the most prevalent STI.
On Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., the Alexander Health Center is holding a clinic for students to get the vaccine for the most prevalent STI — the Human Papillomavirus, also known as HPV.
Whitney Fraser at the Alexander Health Center helped organize the HPV Gardasil Clinic, partnering with Passport Health. This is the first time that the health center has held this clinic.
The CDC recommends children to receive the vaccine starting at age 12 up to age 26 and before having sex. If you’ve already had sexual intercourse it is not too late, however.
“You’re never too late to get [the vaccine],” said Fraser. “Obviously the best time to get it is before you’re sexually active, but even if you’ve been sexually active for years I wouldn’t hesitate to do it because there are so many strands that you may have been ex- posed to one but not the other.”
Around 80 percent of people in the United States will have had some strain of HPV at some point in their lives. Different strains of HPV can cause genital warts and cervical and throat cancer, some strains of which can be prevented by taking the vaccine.
However, most people with HPV remain symptomless and many of the health issues caused by HPV can be treated if caught early. The best thing for women and people with vaginas is to get a yearly pap smear as soon as they become sexually active to test for cervical cancer.
While women and people with vaginas are more likely to show signs of the virus, it is equally important for men and others to get the vaccine as they can be carriers.
The HPV vaccine must be administered three times over a span of six months. The clinic will repeat in two months and then in six months so that everyone can get each shot. If you cannot make the clinic, students are able to make an appointment to receive the vaccines but may have to be placed on a waitlist.
To schedule an appointment on Sept. 10, visit www.passageware.com/ClinicSignUp/ Alexander%20Health%20Center, or walk- in thirty minutes to an hour before closing for a chance to be seen.