Doctors recommend HPV vaccine as rates increase to 80 percent

HPV, or the Human Papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted infection.

Posted: Nov. 1, 2017 8:20 AM

Terre Haute, Ind. (WTHI) - HPV, or the Human Papillomavirus, is the most common sexually transmitted infection.

It's so common that nearly 80 percent of sexually active people will contract it at some point in their lives.

That's why doctors recommend pre-teens get the HPV vaccine.

Kelli Riker of Terre Haute knows what it's like to have lived with the virus.

"I contracted HPV from unsafe sex and I didn't get the vaccination when I was that age and able. I didn't even know about it," said Kelli Riker.

Riker says her experience with HPV was difficult and she wishes she would have gotten the vaccine.

"It was kind of hard at first because I didn't know anything about it and I felt like I was like the only one out there and I felt really terrible about it," said Riker.

The vaccine is a three step shot for teens over the age of 15 and a two step shot for kids under 15.

The vaccine requires separate doctor visits and because of this, some kids start the process but don't end up finishing it.

The vaccine helps guard against HPV as well as certain types of cancer.

According to the CDC, the vaccination has been proven to reduce the disease.

Now doctors want parents to weigh the options in making the right choice for their child.

"The real goal of this vaccine is to try and give it to people before they've had their first sexual encounter," said Dr. Angela Hatfield, a physician at Union Health.

Some parents are skeptical to expose their children to the vaccine.

"The best thing that we can advise is that this is not a vaccine that's going to make your children sexually active. It's just a vaccine to try and help prevent cancer," said Hatfield.

Riker knows what her decision will be for her children.

"If you want to think about your children and them having the chance of not getting it, I think it'd be best for the vaccination to make sure that you know you're doing all that you can," said Riker.

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