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Health officials estimate that eighty percent of American women have or will be exposed to the Human Papillomavirus also known as HPV by the time they are 50. This virus can lead to cervical cancer which is a leading cause of death among women in America. The Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation is now offering HPV vaccinations to women ages 19 to 26 who are low-income, have little insurance coverage, or have no insurance coverage. KSMU's Joe Morgan explains the importance of this program.
The Missouri Foundation for Health recently awarded the Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation, also known as OACAC, the opportunity to participate in a state wide grant project which offers HPV vaccinations to qualified women. OACAC Resource Development Director, Michelle Fittro explains who is eligible to receive the free vaccinations.
Fittro says that this program is important for the community because of the seriousness of cervical cancer and the fact that it is a preventable disease.
The vaccination is a series of three shots spread over a six month period which helps protect against the four strains of HPV most likely to cause cervical cancer. Fittro says the program has been a huge success in the short time it has been offered.
Fittro says she feels that the program will be in effect for a long time considering more people are becoming aware of the dangers of the HPV virus. She feels that many women will benefit from these vaccinations being offered in Missouri.
For more information about the program contact the OACAC Family Planning Office at 417-864-3410. For KSMU News, I'm Joe Morgan.