Cherokee Nation Public Health creates HPV focus groups
A poster from the Centers for Disease Control website has information about vaccinating children from the human papillomavirus beginning at age 11. COURTESY
TAHLEQUAH – In July, Cherokee Nation Public Health officials began conducting focus groups at CN health centers to collect information on the public’s knowledge, attitudes and views toward receiving the human papillomavirus vaccine.
The focus groups aim to learn what participants know about HPV, where they get their sources and their thoughts on whether they would vaccinate their children.
“Really the purpose of the project is to better understand the parents’ comprehension of, their attitudes of and their experiences with the HPV vaccination. So we wanted parents with children 9-17 years of age. We’re really asking them what they know about the virus, what they know about the vaccination, and where they’re getting their sources. And if they trust those sources,” prevention project specialist Margie Burkhart said.
Human papillomavirus vaccine, or HPV as it is more commonly known, is a sexually transmitted virus known to cause genital warts and certain types of cancers.
“HPV is made up of a little over 150 viruses. Some of those viruses can cause genital warts or they can cause cancer. The cancers (can be) in both men and women. They can get mouth cancer, throat cancer, anal and rectum cancer. That’s in both sexes. Men can get penile cancer and in the women they can get vaginal and cervical cancers from some of the HPV viruses,” Burkhart said.
Burkhart said the Centers for Disease Control recommends that children get the vaccination starting at age 11.
According to the CDC, two doses of the HPV vaccine are recommended for all boys and girls at ages 11-12. The vaccine can be given as early as age 9. The older a child waits to get a vaccine, it could result in a third dose, the CDC states.
Children who start the vaccine series on or after their 15th birthday need three shots given over six months. If your teen hasn’t gotten the vaccine yet, talk to his/her doctor about getting it as soon as possible,” the CDC website states.
For more information on the virus and vaccinations, visit www.cdc.gov
Ten focus groups are being conducted at W.W. Hastings Hospital in Tahlequah, Sam Hider Health Center in Jay, Redbird Smith Health Center in Sallisaw, Vinita Health Center in Vinita, and Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center in Stilwell and will run through August.
Participants must be Native American, utilize CN Health Services and have children between the ages of 9-17. Participants will be compensated for their time.
If interested in participating in a focus group or know someone who might be interested, email Dr. Ashley Comiford at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 918-453-5000, ext. 7076 or email Margie Burkhart at email@example.com
or call 918-453-5000, ext. 5440.