Compensation provided for vaccinated students

Student Health offers vaccinations for HPV, the main cause of cervical cancer. -Meredith Baker | The East Carolinian

In order to recruit more students to get the Genital Human Papilloma Virus vaccination, an organization is offering rewards to students after completing the vaccination cycle.

The Genital Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination is now available to all students through ECU’s student health services center. HPV is one of the most common Sexually Transmitted Infections in the world, especially among college students. There are more than 40 different types of HPV that can infect the genital areas of both males and females.

The program entitled Knock Out HPV provides free HPV vaccinations to voluntary study participants who are of good health for compensations such as gift cards. Those who participate in the Knock Out HPV campaign receive a $20 iTunes gift card and are entered in a raffle to win an iPad 2. The participant must complete the entire three-dose cycle to receive compensation.

“The vaccine is recommended for females ages 13 to 26 years and males 22 to 26 years old,” says Jennifer Williams, a pharmacist at student health services.

The virus can cause serious health problems including genital warts and may sometimes result in the formation of certain cancers. HPV is the main cause of cervical cancer, which is the cause of about 4,000 deaths of women each year in the United States.

HPV is transmitted through skin contact with the genitals or during sex and anyone who currently is or has been sexually active in the past is at risk. The disease can be passed from person to person even if they aren’t showing any symptoms and it is likely several carriers of HPV aren’t even aware they have it.

Carrie Beard, a first year clinical laboratory sciences major, is happy about both the students and the campus being proactive in the midst of HPV.

“I’m glad the vaccine is being offered to students so they can take measures to protect themselves and others,” Beard said. “Even though I am already vaccinated I’ll be sure to tell my friends that such a good opportunity is available to them.”

Sophomore biology major Michelle Smith applauds the campus program that rewards students for getting vaccinations and is proud that the university is so invested in student health.

“It’s really great that the university offers a program that anyone can be a part of to get vaccinated for free,” Smith said. “It also doesn’t hurt that students can get prizes in return, that will probably encourage a lot of people to take charge of their health and get out there and get vaccinated.”

Although the vaccination has been the source of controversy in the news for a variety of reasons, the vaccine itself does not seem to have any adverse effects on its recipients.

“The side effects are the same as any vaccines and may include soreness, redness or fainting,” Williams said.

The vaccine has been proven to prevent the development of cervical cancer in women and is accepted by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective. The vaccine is also shown to be effective in the prevention of other HPV related cancers in women including vaginal, vulvar and other forms.

ECU’s Student Health Services Center offers the HPV vaccine to students conveniently on campus. For those who do not want to participate in the study, the vaccination costs $140, but can also be paid through school insurance. However for those who may not be able to afford the cost, there is a campaign on campus designed to help students acquire these vaccinations for free.

Even though HPV is very common and relatively easy to acquire, there are several ways people can lower their chances of contracting HPV. Preventions include condom use, abstinence, having few sexual partners and vaccines.

 

This writer can be contacted at news@theeastcarolinian.com.

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