In January of 2012 Char, a single mother of four, noticed something about her body slightly abnormal. She would have odd bleeding whenever she would participate in sexual intercourse. For months she would put aside her worries and continue her life as normal. But in June due to the man in her current relationship, she went to see a doctor. Right away when she started the exam the doctor knew it was something a bit more serious than Char had originally thought. When she got the results from her pap smear tests, she was struck with the news that she was being diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer and stage two cervical cancer. Char was diagnosed with HPV earlier in her life and it is thought, by her doctors, to be the cause of her cancers.
These cancers CAN be prevented. Starting with the source, HPV, or human papillomavirus. According to AHFS Consumer Medication Information HPV is a very common sexually transmitted virus that affects about 79 million of the United States population, of both men and women. On average an additional 14 million new cases are recorded each year. It is also known to be the cause of some anal, vaginal, vulvar and penile cancers and is considered to cause 70% of cervical cancers.
Sure- you can preventing by using a condom properly and or only having one sex partner but, in agreement to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ABC-Clio Solutions there are better and more effective ways to stay HPV free.
The Gardasil®9 or Cervarix® (for girls) shots can be given to children starting at age nine and is recommended for eleven to twelve year olds, to protect them from the terrible outcomes of HPV and HPV itself. So why is it even a question?
Yeah. It seems crazy to think that a nine year old, someone who barely knows their multiplication tables, could even be in a situation where they are at risk of getting HPV, but it is recommended for children to get the shots well before they become sexually active to receive the most benefits. Also the vaccine is most effective when given under the age of twenty six, preferably, as soon as possible.
Yet When you go to the doctor’s office it is your parents choice whether you get the vaccination or not. If parents say no to the shot, you can’t go against their orders because you still are not ¨adult¨ enough to make the decision. By the time you are an adult and can make your own decision, it may be too late or the vaccine may be less effective.
A way to think about it is very similar to the way Willoughby, father of a 12 year old girl, expresses his thoughts to Minnesota Public Radio; “If in 20 years time, my daughter, with two children at home, develops cervical cancer, and I didn’t give her the vaccine, I’m going to be looking pretty hard in the mirror at myself.” Think about why you would want to live with the fear that you or your child have a higher risk of getting HPV or HPV cancers when there is a way to reduce those risks.
Approval or Ticket to Sex?
Some parents may reason that by giving their kids the vaccine, they are allowing them to go out and have sex. This is not necessarily true. Many teens are not even aware of the effects of HPV, nor how common HPV is. Whether or not they have the vaccine, kids will be kids and do what they please. The vaccination is just a way to prevent their choices from becoming worse and more deadly.
Could I Be Poisoning My Child?
The FDA, which was in agreeance with the CDC states the Gardasil®9 and Cervarix® shots are safe. Both vaccinations contain no traces of ethylmercury, thiomersal, live viruses or dead viruses; The National cancer Institute explains how vaccination contains virus like particles that act in a similar way as the virus but lack the DNA, so they are unable to reproduce as the virus.
Common side effects of the vaccination include pain, swelling, redness, itching, bruising, bleeding, a lump where you got the shot, headache, fever, dizziness and nausea. These symptoms are temporary and should go away after a few hours; If the symptoms do not go away after a few days it is recommended by Health Line to contact your doctor. The CDC also suggests not to get the vaccination if you have had a previous allergic reaction to it or to yeast.
What Difference Does it Make?
The Centers for Disease and Prevention looks at the number of HPV cases before and after the vaccine. The use of the Cervarix® shot alone, in the United States, reduces the likelihood of receiving four of the HPV stands (HPV-6, -11, -16 and -18) by more than half of American teenagers. This Cuts the rates from a 11.5% increase to only a 4.3% increase. In American women around their early twenties it is cut from 18.5% to 12.1%, nearly a third of the original increase.
The results are shocking. So many less people were prevented from getting HPV after the vaccine came out, and to think that not everyone gets the shot. If even more people consider the vaccination the progress to get rid of the HPV virus could be even larger.
Cons of the Vaccine
So here is the downside, according to a Health Line article by Annamarya Scaccia, there is a chance symptoms such as pain, swelling, redness, itching, bruising, bleeding, a lump where you got the shot, headache, nausea, fever, or dizziness. There is also a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of death, when you may not even get HPV in your lifetime.
But decide: Is it worth these small risks to prevent even bigger ones?
Here is a video that overviews the importance of the Human Papillomavirus vaccination.
Featured image by torange