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Health Department Notes

Cervical Health Awareness Month January is Cervical Health Awareness Month, and the Woodford County Health Department wants you to know that there’s a lot you can do to prevent cervical cancer. To start the year out right, women are encouraged to contact their health provider to schedule a Pap test to check for cervical cancer. This screening is a crucial part of a woman’s health care regimen, yet one that many overlook. It’s important to remember that cervical cancer is a preventable disease – as long as it’s caught early.

HPV (human papillomavirus) is a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity. About 79 million Americans currently have HPV, but many people with HPV don’t know they are infected. HPV is also a major cause of cervical cancer. Each year, more than 11,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.

The good news?

• HPV can be prevented by the HPV vaccine.

• Cervical cancer can often be prevented with regular screening tests (called Pap tests) and follow-up care.

In honor of National Cervical Health Awareness Month, the health department encourages:

• Women to start getting regular Pap tests at the onset of sexual activity or no later than the age of 21 and should continue annually

• Parents to make sure their pre-teens get the HPV vaccine at age 11 or 12

• Women to get the HPV vaccine before age 27

• Men to get the HPV vaccine if you are under age 22 The HPV vaccine is available at the Woodford County Health Department. Please call 873-4541 for more information. Taking small steps can help keep you safe and healthy.

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