Public Advocate: city clinics need more of STD vaccine
By Marlene Naanes
None of the city health departments STD testing clinics offer a vaccination that can prevent a sexually transmitted disease that can cause genital warts and cervical cancer, a study has found.
The health department's 10 STD clinics test for disease and offer vaccines for Hepatitis A and B but not for genital human papillomavirus, according to a report that Public Advocate Betsy Gotbaum will release today.
The clinics should offer the HPV vaccine because its the most common STD, the report said.
Every young woman should have affordable access to the life-saving HPV vaccine to reduce the risk of developing cervical cancer, Gotbaum said in a statement. I'm pleased that some city clinics have increased access to this vaccine, but more must be done to keep young women safe from a common, but preventable disease."The study also found that one of the five health department immunization clinics didnt offer the vaccine to children. However, the study found the availability of the vaccine increased dramatically in health department immunization and children's clinics.
The public advocates office recommended, among other things, that the STD clinics and all child and teen health clinics offer the vaccine.
The health department said it offers hepatitis vaccinations at its STD clinics because federal guidelines recommend it. But no federal guidelines say HPV vaccinations should also be available there. Furthermore, patients are unlikely to return to complete the necessary injections, a department official said.
The department added that the HPV vaccine is recommended for girls who are 11 or 12 and its clinics do not serve children under 12 years old.
All of the departments immunization clinics, meanwhile, offer the vaccine to children aged 9 to 17 with parental consent and to women aged 18 to 26.