HPV Vaccination Rates Decline Among South East Schoolchildren

HPV vaccination rates decline among South East schoolchildren

According to data, the use of a cervical cancer vaccine among schoolchildren in the South East has declined from pre-pandemic levels.

In 2019, 75% of East Sussex Year 9 girls received the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine.

That figure had fallen to 62% by 2022.

According to Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, the decline is "concerning," as research shows that vaccination can reduce cervical cancer rates by nearly 90%.

During Years 8 and 9, girls and boys aged 12 to 14 are offered free HPV vaccinations at school.

In 2019, 82% of Year 9 girls in Kent and 82% of Year 9 girls in Surrey were immunized. By 2022, these percentages had fallen to 76% and 77%, respectively.


What is HPV?

It is one of 60 epithelial-related and lesion-producing viruses that contribute to the appearance of skin warts, skin cancer, and the risk of cervical and penile cancer. 

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However, the virus is primarily transmitted through genital contact, resulting in a variety of sexually transmitted infections.

According to studies, sexual intercourse increases HPV association, which is why most sexually active teenagers and young adults are severely affected. 

Some are oblivious, and approximately 15 to 20% of victims today seek gynecological assistance from their personal healthcare providers. However, for women who carry the virus, the risk of cervical cancer is a major concern.

The appearance of genital warts detected cell changes in the cervix, and other abnormalities are all HPV indications and symptoms. 

There are currently no widely available tests to thoroughly scan the virus, but Pap tests remain one of the most trusted screening methods as part of women's yearly routine tests for identifying early abnormalities.

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With all sexually transmitted infections, one of the most important steps is HPV prevention. According to studies, unprotected sex and multiple partners contribute to increased HPV virus exposure.

People should remember that HPV is a sexually transmitted virus, so they can easily become infected if they are not protected. 

Infection rates are also higher when the immune system is compromised. With over a hundred different HPV strains, 30 of them affect both male and female genital parts. 

During the average lifespan, 75% of both sexes are estimated to be affected, and anyone who has ever been exposed to the virus can develop cell changes that are difficult to treat. 

Worse, if the virus is left untreated for years, it has a higher chance of developing more abnormalities, leading to the presence of cancer.

Unfortunately, knowing what HPV is is not enough, and most medical institutions do not guarantee complete virus treatment. 

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However, doctors and natural health practitioners continue to offer and provide good treatment options to reduce long-term discomfort and other factors. However, as long as the body's immune system is compromised, the virus has an easier time persisting. 


Kate Sanger, head of policy at Jo's Cervical Cancer Trust, attributed the drop in vaccinations to school closures, staff absences, and vaccine hesitancy.

"It's particularly concerning because we have a vaccine that can literally prevent cancer from developing," she said.

Mandy Parker of Dartford, who was diagnosed with stage one cervical cancer in 2015, urged everyone who was eligible to get the vaccine.

"As soon as you find out you have cancer, you wonder, 'Am I going to die?'"

"It was terrifying," she said.

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"If you can get a vaccine that protects you against many of the high-risk cervical cancers, why wouldn't you?"

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