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Young people will be the generation that helps stop HPV cancers
20 May 2019

Young people are being encouraged to take the opportunity to get immunised for free to protect themselves from human papillomavirus (HPV), a common virus that can cause some cancers, and be part of the first generation that helps stop HPV cancers.

A group of young doctors and nurses working for the Bay of Plenty District Health Board have had the HPV immunisation and encourage other young people like them to take the chance to get immunised to reduce their risk of getting HPV cancers.

Dr Noah Bunkley, 26, says HPV immunisation is an opportunity for his generation to stop HPV related cancers. “If you look at history, smallpox was eradicated through immunisation; it would be really cool to see if we could do something for our generation, to actually eradicate cancers caused by HPV.”

The free HPV immunisation is available for men and women, aged 16 to 26. It helps to protect against HPV, a group of very common viruses that infect about four out of five people at some time in their lives. HPV causes cells to grow abnormally and over time can lead to cancer in some people.  HPV causes almost all cervical cancer and several other cancers that affect both men and women.  

Young men have only had the chance to receive the HPV immunisation for free for about two years and Dr Ezra Ritchie, 25, says it’s important for them to get immunised. “It’s important that guys take the opportunity to get immunised as it’s only recently been known that there are cancers that guys can get that are related to HPV, such as mouth and throat cancers.”

Noah adds “I think as a young man, you generally feel invincible; you feel like nothing is going to go wrong with you. But HPV is a really common virus, so it’s important to protect yourself from that. HPV immunisation helps protect you and the people you care about now and in the future.”

Jessica Adlam, 24, a Nurse, encourages others to make the choice to get immunised to take responsibility for their health. “Do it for you - empower yourself to take charge of your health.  It’s free to get immunised and it literally stops cancer,” says Jessica.

“The vaccine is safe, very good at preventing HPV infection, and at reducing the HPV-related cancer risks for young people into the future,” says Dr Jim Miller, Public Health Physician and Medical Officer of Health for Toi Te Ora Public Health.

Make an appointment today with your doctor to get your free HPV immunisation.

For further information visit www.toiteora.govt.nz/HPV or call 0800 IMMUNE.

Last modified: 06 Mar 2018
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