HPV Vaccine Proven to Dramatically Reduce Infection Among Teenage Girls

Rates of infection dropped by 64 percent among 14 to 19-year-old women.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user NIAID

Since its introduction in 2006, the HPV vaccine has sharply cut the rate of infection in young women, a new study published on Pediatrics reports.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a study Monday that reveals the impact of the vaccine six years after its inception. The rate of HPV dropped by 64 percent among teenage girls aged 14 to 19 and by 34 percent for women aged 20 to 24. The study did not include data on boys, but further research will be conducted.

Even though the vaccine has proven to be effective and is now recommended for all 11 to 12-year-old children, rates of vaccination are low: only 40 percent among teenage girls and 20 percent among teenage boys are receiving full dosages. Virginia, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. are the only states that require HPV vaccinations.

Why is that? Like most other debates about sexual health, activity, and education for minors, people are afraid that vaccinating their children would encourage risky sexual behavior in their adolescence. But the evidence of vaccinations leading to unsafe or higher rates of sexual activity simply doesn’t exist. Since 2001, the percentage of high school students who have had sex has not changed and a 2012 study found that girls who had received all three HPV shots were no more likely to get pregnant or get treated for sexually transmitted infections than girls who had not.

The arguments against vaccination also ignore another significant detail, which is that high-risk infections of HPV can cause several types of cancer—some of which can be fatal. Getting the shot not only reduces the risk of the sexually transmitted disease, but also of more severe medical conditions down the road. So really, there isn’t any reason you or your child should not be getting vaccinated.

Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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