OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit clinic providing health and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma, wants to raise awareness about the importance of preventing sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and why vaccinations are crucial in order to protect your health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 20 million new sexually transmitted infections occur in the United States every year, costing the American health care system nearly $16 billion in direct medical costs alone.
There are certain STDs that can be prevented through pre-exposure vaccination with widely available vaccines, including: human papillomavirus virus (HPV), and hepatitis A and B. The CDC recommends adolescents ages 11-12 begin getting the HPV vaccine. However, youth as young as nine can be vaccinated.
“Tens of thousands of adults in the United States suffer serious health problems, are hospitalized, or even die from diseases that could have been prevented by vaccination,”Robyn Sunday-Allen, CEO of OKCIC said. “It’s not just girls that need vaccinated, all individuals who will someday become sexually active should be vaccinated against HPV! “
Cervical cancer accounts for one-third of cancers caused by HPV infection, which is a vaccine preventable disease. Doctors routinely screen for cervical cancer, but there is no recommended cancer screening tests for the other 20,000 cases of cancers caused by HPV infections each year in the United States.
Men are four times more likely than women to be diagnosed with oral cancer and are more prone to get infected with HPV, including “high-risk” cancer-causing strains. In addition, men are less able to recover from infection on their own, and have a higher risk of reinfection.
The good news is there is a vaccine that can prevent the cancers caused by HPV. Parents remember, you are not opening the door for your teenager to engage in sexual activity, you are closing the door to HPV causing cancer.
About Oklahoma City Indian Clinic
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic was established in 1974 to provide excellent health care and wellness services to American Indians in central Oklahoma. The clinic staff cares for more than 18,000 patients from more than 200 federally recognized tribes every year. American Indians can receive a range of services, including medical, dental, pediatrics, prenatal, pharmacy, optometry, physical fitness, nutrition, family programs and behavioral health services. For more information, please visit www.okcic.com.