Maryland Department of Health to Host Symposium in Hopes of Increasing HPV Vaccination Rates in Maryland 
The HPV vaccine is the first vaccine to prevent cancer
Baltimore, MD (February 29, 2018) — The Maryland Department of Health will be hosting a Human Papillomavirus Vaccination (HPV) symposium titled, Providers Are the Key on Saturday, March 3. The symposium will feature local and national experts on HPV, HPV-associated cancers, and HPV vaccination best practices.
As one of the key evidence-based approaches to prevent cancer, the HPV vaccine is an effective intervention; however, rates of vaccinations continue to be low in Maryland. Thus, this symposium is aimed at educating providers on the importance of the vaccine, as well as arming them with tools and conversation to increase awareness among their patients (and patients' parents). Providers from across the state are expected to attend this important event.
HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses, and nearly everyone will be infected with at least one type of HPV at some point during his/her lifetime. In most cases, HPV infections go away on their own and do notcause health problems. However, some HPV infections do not go away, and these cause certain cancers, such as cervical, vaginal, penile, anal, and oropharyngeal. Every year, HPV causes 30,700 cancers in men and women in the United States.
“Research has shown that parents get their children vaccinated against HPV when their doctor makes a balanced recommendation and explains the vaccine to them,” said Department Public Health Deputy SecretaryDr. Howard Haft. “This symposium is an opportunity for Maryland providers to learn more about HPV vaccination as a way to protect their patients against certain cancers.”
The HPV vaccine offers protection against the types of HPV that commonly cause cancers. In clinical trials that led to the approval of the vaccine, the vaccine was found to provide nearly 100 percent protection against persistent cervical infections with HPV types 16 and 18 — the HPV types most associated with cervical cancer. Studies involving other HPV-associated cancers have also shown the vaccine to be highly effective.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the HPV vaccine be given to 11- to 12-year-old boys and girls, so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. CDC’s National Immunization Survey (NIS-Teen) from 2016 indicates that only 54 percent of girls and 45 percent of boys in Maryland are up-to-date with their HPV vaccination.