HPV film could save “Someone You Love”

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The Marshall University Student Health Education Programs and the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine will sponsor a free film screening of the documentary, “Someone You Love: The HPV Epidemic” on Wednesday 6 p.m.

The film is narrated by Vanessa Williams and follows the lives of five women, Susie, Kelly, Kristen, Christine and Tamika, who have been diagnosed with HPV.

“It’s the best film on this subject in existence,” Dr. Paul Offit said. “A perfect mix of pathos, science and medicine with a clear call to action.” Offit is the chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

“Someone You Love” is a feature length documentary about the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). The documentary shows both the struggle and triumph over the infection. The women featured are both living and dying from HPV related cancers.

HPV is thought to be responsible for more than 90 percent of anal and cervical cancers, about 70 percent of vaginal and vulvar cancers and more than 60 percent of penile cancers, according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention. Cancers of the head and neck are mostly caused by tobacco and alcohol, but recent studies show that about 70 percent of cancers of the oropharynx may be linked to HPV.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. It is estimated that by the age of 40, nearly 80 percent of women have already contacted HPV in their lifetime. One in two current college students have HPV. Anyone who has been sexually active with even only one partner is at high risk for catching the virus. The risk is greatly increased if a person has multiple sexual partners.

Young girls are encouraged to get the Gardasil vaccination as soon as possible to help prevent being exposed to HPV. Studies have shown that the earlier a patient receives the vaccination the longer lasting their immunities to the virus will be. The film screening will also include a Q&A with Dr. Jennie Yoost with Marshall Health. 

Logan Parkulo can be contacted at [email protected]