CDC Chief: Health Care Revolutions and HPV Vaccines

[ 0 ] October 25, 2013 |

Information is the next health care revolution, says Dr Thomas Frieden, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Armed with enough information, we can revolutionize the way we manage our own health, our health care systems’ health, and our community health – “ways that are going to be help us be healthier today and tomorrow, because we know more about what’s making us sick, how it’s making us sick, and how we can be healthier,” Dr. Frieden told genConnect.

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And health data is where it’s at, he added, “figuring out where were are so we can figure out where we’re going to go.”

Watch Dr. Frieden of the CDC talk to genConnect about the next health care revolution, the HPV vaccine, and how countries such as Rwanda can be beating the U.S. in the vaccination race:

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The CDC made news this month when it said that since the the routine use of the anti-cancer HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine in 2006, the number of cases of women contracting the types of HPV that cause cervical cancer in women dropped by about half in girls aged 14 through 19. HPV is a common virus that is spread through sexual contact; some types cause cervical cancer in women while other types cause other kinds of cancer in both men and women. A condom can definitely reduce one’s risk of contracting HPV, but doctors say the HPV vaccine Gardasil, manufactured by Merck, is the best way to protect one’s self from this cancer-causing disease. About 79 million Americans are currently infected with some sort of HPV strain.

tomfrieden

Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC

But Frieden told genConnect that only about one-third of the girls in America have received the vaccine, while countries like Rwanda can vaccinate at least 80 percent of their children.

“We need to do that,” he stressed. “If we don’t do that, tens of thousands of women in America are going to get cervical cancer that could have been prevented. …This is an anti-cancer vaccine.”

How is Rwanda – a third-world country – ahead of the United States on such an important health issue?

We need focus, Dr. Frieden says. Doctors who care for adolescents needs to focus on vaccinations, and parents’ questions about the vaccine need to be answered honestly.

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“The vaccine has been given to tens of millions of people,” he stressed. “It’s safe, it’s effective and the study that we just released shows that it’s even more effective than we had hoped.”

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Category: Aspen Ideas Festival 2013

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About Thomas Frieden: Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, became Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in June 2009. Dr. Frieden has worked to control health threats from infectious diseases, respond to emergencies, and battle the [...]
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