HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report has found not enough Alabama teens are getting vaccinated for the potentially cancer-causing Human Papiloma Virus (HPV).
HPV is thought to be the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States. The virus can be spread without any signs or symptoms, and at its most sinister can even cause cancer.
"It can, in a minority of cases, cause cancer in males, but the most serious cancer is cervical cancer in women," said Dr. Lawrence Robey with the Madison County Health Department.
Nationwide, 39% of adolescent females and 21% of adolescent males have received the HPV. In Alabama, the percentage for girls is the same, but only 9% of adolescent boys are vaccinated for the virus.
Robey admits some parents may think the vaccine isn't necessary for their child, especially since it is transmitted via sexual contact.
"There's a tendency for parents to deny that they`re kids are ever going to be put at risk or do things they would not approve of," explained Robey. "You see this with birth control, because their child 'won't get pregnant', the same thing happens with HPV because they think 'my child will never need that'.”
However, Robery reminds parents, the HPV vaccine protects their children's future health.
"As much as half the adult population is affected. It is our responsibility to see we get protection for our kids, not only now, but you`re talking about protecting them 10, 20, 30 years from now."