January 29, 2011 admin

HPV Vaccine… Encouraging Sexual Promiscuity?

Should my daughter get the HPV Vaccine?

A controversial topic… However, I appreciate the opportunity to answer using facts.

Facts about HPV (Human Papillomavirus)

– HPV is a group of strains of a virus that affect the outer skin layers.
– Approximately 40 out of 250 HPV strains are sexually transmitted.
– Strains may lay dormant for years.
– HPV is considered the most common STD today.
– HPV is transferred skin to skin or surface to skin incl. oral sex or objects.
– No way to detect if your sex partner is carrying the virus.
– Condoms can protect against HPV but not 100%.
– 15 strains of HPV lead to cancer and other complications.
– 4 strains lead to cervical cancer if left untreated.
– HPV Type 16 & 18 are responsible for 70% of all cervical cancer.
– Detection is only through pap test.
– The HPV vaccine specifically protects against these 2 strains.
– Estimated 3-4 thousand women die from cervical cancer each year.

What’s scary is that we all are going to contract HPV and spread it on to someone else at some point in our lives.  In fact it is estimated that, today, over 90% of people contract HPV at some point, many of us more than once.

Although the HPV vaccine is widely available, whether or not your daughter should receive the HPV vaccine becomes a deeply personal decision mixed with moral, religious, political, economic even socio cultural arguments.  On one hand, if your daughter is not sexually active, there may be no need for her to have the vaccine. However, on the remote chance that she will be, the HPV vaccine is a cancer prevention vaccine and should be carefully considered amongst the other arguments.