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Area doctors urge HPV vaccination amid new virus research, data

According to CDC, most adults have been exposed to HPV and over 40 percent of adults are infected

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New medical research involving the human papilloma virus is reinforcing the recommendation for parents to have their children receive vaccination for the preventable virus.

Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, Rockland County Commissioner of Health says transmission is " not through your blood. It's not through the toilet or clothing or anything. It's sexual activity. It's a sexual disease."

Dr. Suzanne Kaseta a statistician for Boston Children's Health Physicians agreed that "most adults have been exposed to HPV at some point in their lives. Not all, but most and recent studies have shown that over 40 percent of adults have infections with HPV."

That data, according to the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDS, also shows certain high risk strains of the virus are starting to affect a higher percentage of men than women. Dr. Kaseta says this news is a good reminder for parents to get their children vaccinated, the earlier the better.

"If you give the vaccine to pre-teens the immune response that they get to the HPV vaccine is actually higher than if you wait until they're older in their teenage years," Dr. Kaseta said.

The Centers for Disease Control recommend children get the HPV vaccine as early as 11 years old and before they are sexually active.

Not all doctors embrace or recommend the HPV vaccine. Commissioner Ruppert disagrees though, saying that when it comes to preventing a virus strain that can lead to something more serious like cervical cancer, it's better to be safe than sorry.

"We have a vaccine that prevents cancer and works very well and really has no major side effects very minimal. So it's a bargain. As far as your health is concerned, it's the way to go,” the health commissioner added.

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