Guest speakers informs SGA about sexual virus prevention

SGA is now accepting applications for senators

By Kierstyn Wiley
On March 1, 2019

Photo by Ian Saint: The gavel comes down with an authoritative thump, and the motion carries. SGA also had a speaker who presented over human papillomavirus. 

The Student Government Association on Feb. 25 welcomed Dr. Kristin Goen, doctor of family medicine, to discuss the importance of human papillomavirus prevention.
 “It is a group of viruses,” Goen said. “Greater than 120 strains. It’s a very common cause of genital warts and several different cancers.”
She mainly addressed young adults who are and are not sexually active. The virus does not have to be transmitted sexually, she said. The virus can be spread by skin-to-skin contact.
“All sexually active people are at risk for contracting HPV,” Goen said. “The highest prevalence group is most common to people in their young 20s.”
Symptoms may not be noticeable until a couple of weeks or a couple of months after their sexual contact, she said.
“HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in women,” Goen said. “Guys are not off the hook, it’s just we don’t have screening.”
A blood or urine test would be a beneficial way for men to find out if they have the virus, she said.
“Up to 79 percent of sexually active females will contract a genital HPV infection sometime in their life,” Goen said. “This is based on population studies, but in reality, there are a lot of women that never even know they have an HPV infection.”
One percent of sexually active Americans will have visual symptoms of genital warts, which is mainly the only sign of HPV, she said.
“Type 16 and 18 are the most notorious for causing cancer of many different kinds,” Goen said. “They’re responsible for vaginal, vulvar, anal and penile cancer, too.”
It is recommended to tell peers and loved ones about the virus so they can be careful and safe, she said.
“Education is key because HPV is out there and almost 80 percent of people are going to get it,” Goen said. “Gardasil 9 is a fairly new vaccine, but it covers more of the common causes of the cancer. It is almost 100 percent effective in preventing the contraction of transmission of the nine forms of HPV. It’s going to be free for students and it is very well tolerated.” 
There have not been any reported deaths due to the vaccine. However, very few allergic reactions such as redness, pain or soreness have occurred.
 “The best time to get the vaccine is before sexual activity, but if you are already sexually active, it is not too late,” Goen said. “Just sometime in your lifetime.” 
Goen said she is passionate about prevention and wanted an opportunity to share her information with many young adults.
“I think it is very important to see a primary care physician on a regular basis because screening and treatment is important,” Goen said. 
After her presentation, the SGA discussed different things they can do on campus to benefit the school and its students.
“Right now, one of our committees, the transportation committee, is working with the company Bird to see the feasibility of getting them on campus,” said Brayden Woods, vice president of the student body.
Woods said individuals who want to join the SGA should visit the SGA section of the ASU website. Students can send their applications to the Center for Student Involvement in the Houston Harte University Center to get on the ballot.
“We just want someone who is committed to serving the student body and we have a three-day attendance policy,” Woods said. “We want someone who is wanting to serve and willing to.”

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