Meigs Health Matters: Understanding HPV


Understanding HPV

By Courtney Midkiff - Special to the Times-Sentinel



senior portraits, professional portrait

senior portraits, professional portrait


The Meigs County Health Department (MCHD); Meigs County Cancer Initiative, Inc. (MCCI) and the Meigs County District Public Library invite you to a free viewing of “Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic,” which is a feature length in-depth documentary narrated by Vanessa Williams on the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and the stories of struggle, tragedy and triumph surrounding this complicated and often misunderstood infection. This educational event will take place on Saturday, June 30 beginning at 1 p.m. in the basement meeting room of the Pomeroy Library located at 216 W. Main Street. Dr. Wilma Mansfield, MD, who is a retired family practice physician and MCCI member, will answer questions during the program. Light refreshments will be served.

All parents, guardians, caregivers, healthcare providers and young adults are encouraged to attend to watch this poignant documentary which takes a look into the lives of five women affected by HPV, the widely controversial and misunderstood virus that causes several types of cancer including, but not limited to cervical. Each of these women have an intimate story to tell. We also will hear about cancer caused by HPV in men via Jason Mendelsohn’s story.

HPV may be the most potentially dangerous epidemic that most people hardly know anything about. Did you know?

* Every year in Ohio, 1,157 people get cancer caused by Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), that’s 3.2 people every day.

* 80 percent of all people under 50 years of age will have HPV at some point in their lives.

* One in two current college students have HPV.

* Cervical cancer is almost exclusively caused by HPV and it’s the 2nd leading cancer in women.

* HPV is spread by skin-to-skin contact. HPV can be passed from one person to another though sexual activity (including oral sex); sharing food, drinks and cigarettes; kissing. Condoms do not fully prevent the spread of HPV.

* HPV can lay dormant in a person’s system for years only to show up later in the form of pre-cancerous or cancerous cells.

* Men cannot be tested for HPV but do unknowingly carry and spread the virus.

* HPV can cause cancers of the cervix, vagina/vulva; penis; anus; mouth; throat.

* Nearly 80 million people in the US (or 1 in every 4) are infected with at least one strain of HPV.

The Southeastern Ohio Breast and Cervical Cancer Project (SEOBCCP) will be on site that day to accept referrals for cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic testing for income eligible, uninsured ladies who meet the following guidelines: 1. Income at or below 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. 2. Age 21-64 for cervical cancer screenings and diagnostic testing. SEOBCCP offers patient navigation services to help find funding sources for cervical cancer screenings for women who are not eligible for direct services.

In addition, the MCHD will offer educational materials about the HPV vaccine, which is recommended by healthcare professionals from the American Academy of Pediatrics; American Academy of Family Physicians; World Health Organization; American Society of Clinical Oncology; Centers for Disease Control, National Cancer Institute and the Food and Drug Administration as cancer prevention. Parents, caregivers and guardians are encouraged to talk to their child’s physician and young adults should consult their doctor as well. The vaccine was approved for use in girls in 2006 and in boys in 2009 and works best when given before someone is first exposed to a virus such as HPV. The recommended age for vaccination is 11-26 years of age.

Special thanks to the Ohio Department of Health and The James – OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center for making free public screenings of the “Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic” available in Ohio. You can watch the trailer at http://hpvepidemic.vhx.tv/. For more information, contact me at 740-992-6626 or via email: courtney.midkiff@meigs-health.com. I hope to see you at the Pomeroy Library on June 30th.

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Understanding HPV

By Courtney Midkiff

Special to the Times-Sentinel

Courtney C. Midkiff, BSC, is the administrator for the Meigs County Health Department and MCCI member.

Courtney C. Midkiff, BSC, is the administrator for the Meigs County Health Department and MCCI member.