(WMC) - Human Papilloma Virus, commonly referred to as HPV, is becoming more prevalent in the Mid-South, according to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
According to St. Jude, Tennessee is topping the list. They're seeing more HPV-related cancers.
"This is a germ that most of us will be exposed to during our adult life, and we know that HPV has a very strong link to many types of cancers," said Dr. Melissa Hudson from St. Jude.
St. Jude doctors said the HPV vaccine for children as young as 9 is crucial. However, getting it at the recommended adolescent age for other immunizations like booster and tetanus is acceptable.
"It's absolutely important to prevent this infection because it's chronic infection with the HPV germ that can lead to cancer later in life," Dr. Hudson said.
As for insurance coverage, doctors said most plans will pay for the HPV vaccine because it's a preventive care measure, and if not, parents can try to find a local clinic that offers it for free.