Mahaska Health Partnership's Megan Childers, ARNP, Educates on Valuable Vaccine
Mahaska Health Partnership Adult Nurse Practitioner Megan Childers urges the public to vaccinate for human papillomavirus (HPV), which is responsible for 70% of all cervical cancer diagnoses.
“At least half of sexually active Americans will contract HPV in their life time,” Childers said. “As many as 10 million people, age 15 to 24, are currently infected.”
Childers explained that the HPV vaccine prevents four types of the virus which cause 90% of genital warts. “No one wants to deal with uncomfortable and unsightly genital warts but more importantly, no one wants cervical cancer,” Childers stressed. “There is a vaccine that can offer very strong protection against both, so I’m a big supporter of that for my patients.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), most people infected with HPV are not aware they have it. “HPV can result in visible, itchy warts or may have no symptoms at all. That is why it is so important to vaccinate because a person could be spreading the virus without realizing it,” Childers said.
The HPV vaccine is administered in three doses and is recommended for girls and boys age 13-26 years old. “Ideally, patients should be vaccinated before the onset of sexual activity when they have had no opportunity to be exposed to the infection,” Childers clarified. “If a person already has HPV they can still be vaccinated but it will not help with their current infection; it will only protect against strains they have not been exposed to.”
As an Adult Nurse Practitioner, Childers specializes in the primary care of people age 13 and older, with a special interest in women’s health. “I have specific training in the unique health needs of women and completed extensive research into the well-being of young adults,” Childers shared.
Childers graduated from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and began practicing at MHP in March. She is available regular hours Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and until 7 pm on Tuesdays. For an appointment with Childers, call 641.672.3360.