HPV is a common virus that affects young men and women. It can cause genital warts, cervical cancer and other cancers in women, and HPV-related cancers and genital warts in men. Vaccination against HPV can help protect young people from developing these cancers and disease later in life. Free vaccinations for 12-13 year old males and females are currently being rolled out in schools, with a catch up program until the end of 2014 for males 14-15 years of age.
The free HPV vaccine is available through schools, and will also be available through community health clinics in some remote areas. If a child’s education is not school-based (such as for those undertaking online studies), parents and guardians can contact their local health department for advice on where to get the vaccine.
We asked proud Bundjalung man, Troy Cassar Daley, why young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should get the vaccination.
“My grandmother had a saying that if you didn’t have your health, you don’t have much at all. If we can prevent cancers and disease, we should take the medicine. We should use medicine as an advantage. We have a chance to make sure our kids are covered.”
Troy is also urging people to find out more about the HPV vaccinations.
“It’s also important that kids complete the full course of three doses for full protection (if a dose has been missed parents can talk to the school, GP or health clinic).”
“Parents should get as much information as they can about the HPV vaccination program. There’s a website you can go to: www.australia.gov.au/hpv