Durango, Colo.: Every year in the U.S., human papillomavirus (HPV) causes 30,700 cancers in men and women and each day, 33 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer. During Cervical Health Awareness Month, San Juan Basin Public Health (SJBPH) reminds young adults and parents that the HPV vaccine is cancer prevention. Vaccination is recommended for boys and girls ages 9 through 26. Even though it is ideal to get the HPV vaccine at age 11-12, it is still highly effective in teens and young adults.

Having HPV puts a woman at increased risk for cervical cancer. Only regular Pap tests can detect abnormal changes in the cervix years before any cancer actually exists.

SJBPH’s Women’s Wellness Connection (WWC) program provides free screenings for cervical and breast cancer for eligible women between ages 21-64 in Colorado. Breast exams, Pap tests, and pelvic exams are included. Referrals for free mammograms are available for women who qualify.

To schedule an appointment for a Well Woman Exam and for more information about the HPV series, call the SJBPH Sexual Health Clinic at 970-335-2015. More information about the clinic is at sjbpublichealth.org/sexualhealthclinic/. To learn more about the HPV vaccine visit cdc.gov/hpv/parents/vaccine.html.