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January is Cervical Health Awareness month, and Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic’s 10 health centers in Westchester, Rockland, and Suffolk counties are providing potentially lifesaving vaccinations and screening.  

Each year nearly 13,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer. This disease is caused in almost all cases by the HPV virus, a very common infection that spreads through sexual activity. Fortunately, this disease is preventable with regular screening tests and follow-up care.

Here are some important facts to help people take control of their sexual health:

  • There are approximately 79 million people in the U.S. with HPV at any one time.
  • Many people with HPV don’t know they are infected.
  • The HPV vaccine can help prevent HPV. The CDC recommends all youth get the HPC vaccine at age 11 or 12, but vaccination is available through age 26. 
  • Cervical cancer screenings can help detect abnormal cells early before they turn into cancer.
  • You should start getting regular Pap tests at age 21. How often you get tested after that depends on your age, medical history, and the results of your last Pap or HPV tests. 

Regular checkups and screenings are essential to good health, and early detection and treatment of illnesses could save your life. No appointment is necessary, walk-ins are welcome at Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic. Please visit www.pphp.org to find the health center closest to you or call (800) 230-PLAN to schedule an appointment. PPHP believes that everyone deserves access to affordable, high-quality health care, and their doors are open to everyone.