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The debate about whether girls as young as 11 years old should be required by the government to have the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination, or if parents should make the decision, will be addressed during a forum at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, at Old Dominion University.

Area panelists will discuss this controversial issue at the forum, titled "Human Papilloma Virus Vaccination: Life-Saving Advancement or Government Intrusion. Who Should Decide?", which will be held in the River Rooms of Webb University Center. It is free and open to the public.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States. More than 20 million men and women in this country are currently infected with HPV and there are 6.2 million new infections each year. HPV is most common in young women and men who are in their late teens and early 20s. By age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired an HPV infection.

The CDC reports that studies have found the vaccine to be almost 100 percent effective in preventing diseases caused by four types of the virus.

"We wanted to provide a forum for this issue and be able to discuss it from different perspectives," said Richardean S. Benjamin, associate professor and chair of the School of Nursing at ODU, who helped organize the event. "We want to encourage dialogue about this topic and hope that people get clarification about the issue. We want this forum to provide a mechanism for people to continue to get answers."

Panelists include Yvette Pearson, assistant professor of philosophy, ODU; Dr. Valerie Stallings, public health director, city of Norfolk; La Francis Rodgers-Rose, founder and CEO, International Black Women's Congress, Norfolk; and Delegate Phil Hamilton, Virginia General Assembly. Kathryn Barrett, medical reporter for WVEC-TV, will serve as moderator.

The forum is sponsored by ODU's Institute for the Advancement of Community Justice, Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, School of Nursing, Department of Women's Studies and Women's Center.

For more information about the forum call 683-4041 or 683-4297.

This article was posted on: September 25, 2007

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