FAQ

Should my friend get the HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) Vaccine? What does it do and is it available on campus?

Campus Health does offer immunization for HPV.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), HPV vaccine is important because it protects against cancers caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV is a very common virus; nearly 80 million people—about one in four—are currently infected in the United States. About 14 million people, including teens, become infected with HPV each year. HPV infection can cause cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancers in women; penile cancer in men; and anal cancer, cancer of the back of the throat (oropharynx), and genital warts in both men and women.

The HPV vaccine is recommended for preteen boys and girls at age 11 or 12 so they are protected before ever being exposed to the virus. HPV vaccine also produces a more robust immune response during the preteen years. Finally, older teens are less likely to get heath check-ups than preteens. If your teen hasn't gotten the vaccine yet, talk to their doctor or nurse about getting it for them as soon as possible.

The HPV vaccine is given in 3 shots. The second shot is given 1 or 2 months after the first shot. Then a third shot is given 6 months after the first shot. The CDC recommends receiving the full HPV vaccine series.

All kids who are 11 or 12 years old should get the three-dose series of HPV vaccine to protect against HPV. Teen boys and girls who did not start or finish the HPV vaccine series when they were younger should get it now. Young women can get HPV vaccine through age 26, and young men can get vaccinated through age 21. The vaccine is also recommended for any man who has sex with men through age 26, and for men with compromised immune systems (including HIV) through age 26, if they did not get HPV vaccine when they were younger.

Does the Campus Health Service provide information, testing, or treatment for STDs?
The UA Campus Health Service provides confidential services to students. There are many options available in the Tucson community as well. (link to resources above)

How can I help my friend avoid getting an STD?

The only sure way to avoid STDs is to not have sexual contact with anyone. However, there are many ways to reduce the risk of getting an STD during sexual contact. “Safer sex” practices include:

  • Having sex with only one partner who is not infected and who is not having sex with others. The more partners, the greater the risk.
  • Using a condom every time one has sexual contact or intercourse (vaginal, anal, and oral).
  • Choosing lower-risk sexual activities than intercourse (such as kissing, touching, manual stimulation, and massage).
  • Avoiding sexual contact when under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (which can impair sexual decision-making).

Is there one test a person can get for all STDs?

No. Each disease has a specific test. Because each STD has a different cause (virus, bacteria, fungi, protozoa) and affects the body in specific ways, it is best to be evaluated by a medical professional who can help decide which tests to order. Many STDs can be detected by a simple examination.

A woman can go to a gynecologist if she has symptoms, but what kind of doctor would a man go to?
Women and men may both seek medical care from their primary care provider, usually a general practitioner or internal medicine doctor.

What’s the difference between anonymous and confidential testing, and which one should my friend get?
HIV testing can be done in two ways: 1) Anonymous testing, which does not require a person’s name and 2) Confidential testing, which is offered at the U of A Campus Health Service and at most hospitals and doctor’s offices. Medical facilities will only release medical records when the patient requests and signs a release form. In Arizona, positive HIV results are reported to the Department of Health Services for demographic and epidemiological purposes only.