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Niagara County wins grant to fight HPV virus

LOCKPORT – The Niagara County Health Department has received a $35,000 grant to increase the rate of vaccinations against human papilloma virus, or HPV, a sexually transmitted infection.

The money comes from the National Association of County and City Health Officials. Niagara County was one of 10 health departments nationwide to receive the grant.

HPV can trigger cancer, with cervical cancer in women and throat cancer in men being the most common, although cancers in the genitalia of both sexes are largely attributable to HPV, too.

“We have a gold standard vaccine that can prevent HPV infection, especially if administered before young people become sexually active,” Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton said. “Prevention through vaccination and education about abstaining from unprotected sex are key to our public health mission to reduce sexually transmitted infections and cancer rates in Niagara County.”

The Health Department said 39 percent of adolescents in Niagara County have started the HPV immunization series, and only 22 percent have completed it.