Women's health clinic opens

Roxanne Timm, a nurse practitioner assigned to the 17th Medical Group, greets Staff Sgt. Karen Harr in her examination room May 13. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Stephen Musal)

Roxanne Timm, a nurse practitioner assigned to the 17th Medical Group, greets Staff Sgt. Karen Harr in her examination room May 13. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Stephen Musal)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The Women's Health Clinic in the 17th Medical Group has been open for a few months now and the health care professionals who work there would like people to know about the services they provide to the women of Goodfellow Air Force Base.

Ms. Roxanne Timm, a Women's Health Nurse Practitioner, is the most recent addition to the clinic. With more than six years experience in women's health matters, she specializes in well women exams, sexually transmitted diseases, birth control options and other related female issues.

Since the clinic opened in January, Ms. Timm said she has seen well over 100 women, both military and dependants. Prior to the clinic's opening, women had the choice of having their Primary Care Manager see them for women's issues or being referred to a downtown doctor.

Now that the care is available for women by women, Ms. Timm said she feels more females will be comfortable with being seen at the Goodfellow clinic.

One of the newest services the clinic offers is the Human Papillomavirus vaccine, or HPV vaccine. The vaccine was recently introduced as a means of preventing the virus that has been proven to be a leading cause of cervical cancer. The vaccine is available in the clinic for girls and women, ages 11-26.

HPV is the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States, with more than 100 types of HPV already identified. The most common low risk types cause low grade cervical cancer and genital warts.

The most common high risk strains produce low and high grade abnormalities that are precursors to invasive cervical, vulvar and anal cancers. Two thirds of all cervical cancers are caused by these strains.

The vaccines are given in three dosages and the only stipulation according to Ms. Timm is that patients receive all three dosages at the Goodfellow clinic.

The vaccine is recommended for girls 11-12 years of age, before their first sexual contact; it is also recommended for girls and women 13-26 years of age.

The protection resulting from the HPV vaccine is expected to be long lasting,, but vaccinated women still need cervical cancer screening (PAP smears) because this vaccine does not prevent against all types of the HPV that cause cervical cancer.

Ms. Timm would like to add that getting the vaccine is not encouraging young girls to engage in sexual activity, but rather "it should be considered a preventative immunization for all females who at some later date would be at risk of such an infection."

Appointments for getting the vaccine or scheduling any other women's health issue appointments can be made by calling the 17th MDG central appointments line at 654-3149.