FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThis Share1EXPERT ALERTDavid [email protected] [email protected] Institute expert: HPV vaccination rates have improved in recent years, but they still have a long way to go HOUSTON – (Feb. 24, 2016) – The infection rate from the cancer-causing human papillomavirus (HPV) has been dropping among young women, according to a new study released this week by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Credit: shutterstock.com/Rice UniversityKirstin Matthews, a fellow in science and technology policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, said that while this is great news, “the rates of vaccination are still lower than we’d like in the United States. We need to get more universal coverage in the high 80 to 90 percent range, like with the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. But this might only occur if we have a mandate.”Matthews is available to discuss issues surrounding HPV vaccinations in Texas and across the U.S.More than 79 million Americans are infected by HPV, a sexually transmitted virus known to cause cancer. The state of Texas does not have an HPV vaccination policy. “Texas does not have school mandates or education policies to encourage vaccination of adolescents to protect them from the virus,” Matthews said. “These deficits put children at risk for becoming infected with the disease as well as potentially developing cancer later in life. Now is the time for Texas to be responsible and to require the HPV vaccine for all children in early adolescence, and physicians in the state should lead this charge.”To interview Matthews, contact Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at [email protected] or 713-348-6775.-30-Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute and @BakerCHB.Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.Related materials:Matthews biography: http://bakerinstitute.org/experts/kirstin-rw-matthews.Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top five university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog,http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.