Our takeaway from a new study on HPV? We all seem to have forgotten about HPV. The vaccine for the human papillomavirus (there's a reason everyone uses the acronym) — that STD known to potentially cause cervical cancer – takes a series of three shots over 6 months to be effective at preventing contraction of the virus, as far as researchers currently know. Back when the vaccine was first approved in 2006 for girls aged 9 to 26, that regimen was relatively well known and followed. But a few years later, once HPV fell out of the headlines… not so much.
"The rate at which the young women completed the series within a year dropped to less than 22 percent in 2009 from more than 50 percent in 2006," reports The New York Times' Nicholas Bakalar. That rate doesn't get much higher for older (+27) women, who completed the three-step vaccine 24 percent of the time. So consider this a call to raise awareness: Girls (and more recently, guys), make sure you're getting all three shots. Or, um, maybe we'll just let Lena Dunham do the talking.