August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and medical professionals have urged parents to make sure their children are up to date with vaccines as they return to the classroom for a new school year.
The American Cancer Society is in the midst of a public information campaign that encourages parents to get their children vaccinated against Human Papillomavirus (HPV).
HPV is the most common, sexually transmitted infection.
Approximately 14 million Americans become infected with HPV each year. In most cases, it produces no signs or symptoms and the infected individual will be infected until the HPV "clears on its own," according to HPV.com.
"But for others who don't clear the virus, it could cause certain precancers, cancers and other diseases," the same website says.
Approximately 33,000 people in the U.S. each year are diagnosed with certain HPV-related cancers, according to the American Cancer Society.
Guarding against those cancers is one reason why the American Cancer Society hopes parents will make sure girls and boys who are 11-years old or 12-years old receive the vaccine.
Kids as young as nine can be vaccinated.
But in Wisconsin, only about 56% of minors between 13 and 17-years old have received the vaccine. That's according to new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The American Cancer Society has set a goal of an 80% vaccination rate among that same age group by 2026.
"We want to end certain cancers, specifically those caused by HPV, and we can only do that if we promote the vaccine," said Debra Nevels, Senior Manager of Health Systems for the American Cancer Society.
The vaccine is commonly given in two shots, although people older than 15 are given three shots, according to the CDC's website.