Should You Vaccinate Your Daughter for HPV?
- Created: August 14, 2013
- by: admin
Although controversial, the HPV vaccination has been proven effective toward the prevention of cervical and other types of cancer among young women.
The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States and is the leading cause of cervical cancer. The CDC reports that nearly 14 million people become newly infected each year. Current research has shown that the HPV vaccine prevents not only cervical cancer but also other types of cancers. The FDA has approved the vaccine in children as young as 9 years of age; however, some parents are hesitant to have their daughter receive the HPV vaccine.
Although receiving the HPV vaccine at an early age offers many advantages, parents question whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Some parents may feel that providing the vaccine to their daughters indirectly gives their consent to engage in sexual activities; however, parents can explain that the HPV vaccine does NOT protect against other STDs such as HIV. The risk of contracting HPV increases with having sex at an early age and having multiple sexual partners. There has been concern about the research available regarding the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine; however, the FDA has approved the vaccine to be safe with no major side effects other than mild discomfort at the injection site.
The biggest benefit the HPV vaccine provides is protection against cervical cancer. The vaccine was introduced in 2006. Since then, there has been a 56% decrease in vaccine-type HPV prevalence among females between the ages of 14-19. The CDC recommends that young girls receive the vaccine before they become sexually active because the effectiveness of the HPV vaccine is optimal when given to young girls who have never encountered a strain of HPV. Girls receiving the vaccine will probably reduce the amount of pap smears they have, which saves them time and money due to fewer doctor visits. It should be noted that once you are already infected, the vaccine will not cure the strain of HPV. Doctors encourage those infected to still receive the vaccine in order to protect against other strains of HPV.
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Written by Katherine Chua