Press Release

January 12, 2012


State Health Department Encourages Vaccination During Cervical Health Awareness Month

Vaccine to prevent Human Papillomavirus is recommended for
both men and women  

SPRINGFIELD – In the continued fight against cancer, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is encouraging both girls/young women and boys/young men to talk with their health care provider this month, Cervical Health Awareness Month, about Human Papillomavirus (HPV) and the vaccine. Specific types of HPV can cause cervical cancer in women, while other types can cause genital warts and anal cancers in men.

Genital Human Papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of males and females. These HPV strains can also cause cancers of the vulva, vagina, penis, anus, head and neck (tongue, tonsils and throat). Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms or health problems and in 90 percent of cases, the body’s immune system clears HPV naturally within two years. However, certain types of HPV can cause genital warts in males and females and other HPV types can cause cervical cancer.

“Cervical cancer is treatable if detected early. There are often no noticeable symptoms, so it is very important women get screened regularly and have a Pap test,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Acting Director Dr. Kenneth Soyemi. “During Cervical Cancer Awareness Month I encourage teens and young women and men to talk with their health care provider about the HPV vaccine, which can help prevent the most common types of HPV that cause cervical cancer and genital warts.”

Cervarix and Gardasil are licensed HPV vaccines for females ages 9 through 26 years. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all 11 or 12 year old girls get the three doses (shots) of either brand of HPV vaccine to protect against cervical cancer. CDC also recommends the vaccine for girls and women ages 13 through 26 who did not get any or all of the doses when they were younger.

Gardasil is also licensed for males ages 9 through 26 years. CDC recommends Gardasil for all males aged 11 through 21 years.

To help raise awareness and increase knowledge about HPV, IDPH is sponsoring a webinar later this month, “The Many Issues of Human Papillomavirus and Its Prevention” presented by Dr. Catherine Dean.

WHAT: The Many Issues of Human Papillomavirus and Its Prevention
WHO: Catherine Dean, MD, MPH
WHEN: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
12 p.m. – 1 p.m. CST


Women who need help paying for cervical cancer screenings and tests may be eligible for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP). The program offers free mammograms, breast exams, pelvic exams and Pap tests to eligible women. Even if a woman has already been diagnosed with cancer, she may receive free treatment if she qualifies. For more information about eligibility and how to apply, contact the Illinois Department of Public Health Women's Health-Line: Toll-free: 888-522-1282, TTY: 800-547-0466, or

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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