Posted by Jean-Ann Kubler
On Feb. 21, Health Services received a limited supply of Gardasil vaccines that were made available for 60 male students free of charge. Gardasil, a vaccination that protects against some types of human papilloma virus (HPV), was approved for men in October 2009.
"[The vaccine] helps prevent against four types of HPV— there are over a hundred types — two types that cause 70 percent of cervical cancer and two more types that cause 90 percent of genital warts," said Patricia Bosen, clinical director of Health Services.
HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can be transmitted through any genital contact. Many infected people show no symptoms.
"[The lack of symptoms] means you can get the virus or pass it on to a partner without knowing it. In the United States, an estimated 75-80 percent of males and females will be infected with HPV in their lifetime," Bosen said.
Health Services received the supply of Gardasil vaccines from the Saratoga County Health Department.
"They had extra vaccines and called and asked if we would like them at no cost," Bosen said.
The Health Services staff decided to distribute the vaccine to men free of charge, as most insurance companies now cover the costs for females to receive the vaccination but not males, Bosen said.
The HPV vaccine is administered through a series of three injections during a six-month time frame. Though 175 Gardasil shots were provided, only 60 men will be able to receive the free vaccine to insure they can complete the entire series of shots at no cost.
As of Feb. 8, 17 males had received the first round of the vaccination.
"We will continue to offer the vaccine to both men and women after this [free] supply runs out. The cost to receive each vaccine is $150.00 per shot, and we can provide receipts to students to submit to their insurance carrier," Bosen said.
Gardasil is approved for males and females ages 9-26.
"The FDA recommends vaccination before adolescence and potential sexual activity, but we are offering it to all students not previously vaccinated," Bosen said.
For students who are unable to receive the free vaccine, the cost can be paid in cash, charged to a student account or deducted from a SkidCard declining balance.
Health Services is located on the first floor of Jonsson Tower. Appointments are not required.