Belmont University Health Services offers a set of three human papillomavirus, or HPV, vaccinations for $462.
The drug isn’t often advertised at Belmont and basic knowledge of the disease and what the shot can protect from, are not clear to many students.
“I’m pretty sure it was like that virus that you get little bumps and stuff from, I don’t know,” said Taylor Simpson, freshman journalism major.
HPV “is the most common sexually transmitted infection” with over 40 different types. These different types are all passed on sexually and can lead to the development of genital warts, recurrent respiratory papillomatosis and several different types of cancers, according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I will say that STDs are something we probably don’t all go around talking about as much as we probably should,” said Krystal Huesmann, a registered nurse at Belmont Health Services.
Although Belmont doesn’t advertise having the vaccine on hand, Health Services will order the injection on request from students, faculty and staff, said Huesmann.
The injections are $154 per dose. This price is based on how much Belmont has to pay for each shot to be delivered to campus.
The three injections are staggered between a six month period, but can be finished at any point in case someone forgot or moved before completion, said Huesmann.
The drug is offered to both men and women. Women should receive the injections between the ages of 13 and 26 while men should between the ages of 13 and 21.
Both should receive the injections since it is an infection spread by sexual activity, said Huesmann.
“Personally, I probably wouldn’t go get the shot for that much money,” said Simpson. “It’s kind of embarrassing to say you wouldn’t save your life because you’re broke.”
Belmont Health Services’ reason for not providing a lower cost to students’ is because the facility does not file insurance for vaccines, said Huesmann.
Even though $462 may seem like a hefty price to pay for three small injections, the amount of people living with the potentially serious infection is large, and getting vaccinated could save your life.
About 79 million people in the United States have contracted the HPV infection and about 14 million more people become infected each year. The infection is so common that almost everyone sexually active will have HPV at some point, according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
If this is true, then the estimate from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention from 2013, would mean that in 2014, there are about 93 million people living with some form of HPV, or approximately one-third of the United States has the sexually transmitted infection.
Of the one-third of the United States with HPV, “most infected persons do not realize they are infected, or that they are passing HPV on to a sex partner,” according to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
This large amount of people with the infection is why Health Services is happy to order the injection for students, faculty and staff.
“I would definitely recommend that everyone get these vaccines,” said Huesmann. “I mean why wouldn’t you want to get a vaccine that could prevent you from getting you a kind of cancer or even giving someone some type of cancer?”
To receive the injection contact your doctor or visit Health Services in McWhorter Hall. To make an appointment call 615-460-5506.