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CHO urges children to get free HPV vaccines

THE CITY Health Office (CHO) encouraged parents to bring their kids ages 9-14 years old to get free human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination at the Davao City Recreation Center (Almendras Gymnasium) on May 9 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

During the iSpeak forum on May 2, Dr. Julinda Acosta, CHO Technical Division chief, said the activity is part of the city’s commitment in response to the prevalence of HPV-related cancers, which is commonly observed in women. 

“The HPV vaccine works best in preteens, especially those who are not yet exposed to any sexual activities. We know that HPV is a sexually transmitted infection, which is one of the leading causes of cervical cancer,” Acosta said. 

Acosta stressed that cervical cancer is the second-most common cause of cancer-related deaths. In 2023, Davao City recorded a total of 88 women who died in the said sickness and 13 deaths in the first quarter of 2024. 

“It’s good for those who have a consultation but how about those who did not consult and yet already have symptoms from it. Once you have the HPV infection, 15 to 20 years after that cervical infection, you will develop cancerous lesions,” she said. 

She said the office does not promote sexual interaction among the youth but more on the prevention of infection through immunization.

CHO will also conduct a free Visual Infection with Acetic Acid (VIA) screening program, an alternative to Pap smear used as a screening tool for cervical cancer, and a free human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening test. 

Acosta also urged women aged 30 to 65 years old to get the VIA screening program for earlier detection of possible cervical cancers, especially in asymptomatic women. 

She added that they also give HPV vaccines to barangay health centers to expand the reach for children to get doses. 

Matagal na po itong ginagawa. However, there is still vaccine hesitancy among the public with regards to our HPV. That is why we asked parents and schools to bring their children to health stations or on May 9 for the vaccination,” she said. 

Aside from the vaccine, Acosta also encouraged women to maintain a healthy lifestyle, avoid smoking and other vices, exercise regularly, and sustain faithfulness in one partner.


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