Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The case for Gardasil

Gardasil is one vaccine that is somewhat controversial for parents. Used to combat the transmission of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). There are over 100 types of HPV with more than 40 of them affecting the genital area. HPV is responsible for 70% of all cervical cancer cases, genital wars, precancerous lesions and other maladies.

Recommended for girls around the age of 12 and now for boys starting around age 9. Why so young? Because it is better to vaccinate BEFORE they become sexually active. Many parents are of the opinion of “better safe than sorry”, some lean towards their personal beliefs on sex before marriage while still others might feel it is a signal to their child that it’s ok to have sex. Of course there are many other reasons parent do or don’t approve of this vaccine.

As parents and pediatricians we deal with the same concerns as you do for our own families. We all want our children to wait until they are adults to have sex. But the reality is that whether we like it or not, some of our kids will start before then.

The bottom line is no matter when your child becomes sexually active, it may be better to consider having the vaccine done because even if they wait until they are married, their partner could have HPV without knowing it. Some types of the virus do not have any symptoms. Some are low risk. Some are high.

Gardasil does not prevent all types of HPV but it does prevent several. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention……

To find more information on HPV please visit the CDC website at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2010/hpv.htm

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