Monday, January 15, 2007
Stop a killer, but promote sex? That is the question...
Forty-three years after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech, this country is still divided, particularly when it comes to disparities in health care. January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. The numbers couldn't be more telling: Each year cervical cancer kills thousands of women, and, according to the American Cancer Society, the number of new cases of cervical cancer is more than 50 percent higher in black women than in whites. And African American women are more than twice as likely to die from the disease.

Family history, smoking and being overweight all increase your risk for this cancer. However, it has a high cure rate if caught early, and regular pap smears, which detect abnormal or cancer cells are critical.

But the single most important risk comes from a sexually transmitted disease called human papilloma virus or HPV. There is no cure or treatment, but since last year, there is a vaccine - Gardasil - the first, and only, vaccine to prevent HPV and cervical cancer. It's approved for use in girls and women ages 9 to 26, and it protects against 70 percent of cervical cancers.

Here in the nation's capital, a controversy over the vaccine is brewing. Last week, the city council introduced a bill that could make the District of Columbia one of the first jurisdictions, to require vaccinating sixth-grade girls - under 13 years old - mandatory.

Proponents of Gardasil hope that vaccinating children before they're sexually active will reduce the risk of HPV infection and cervical cancer. Opponents fear that by hearing about sex, and a sexually transmitted disease, so early, young girls might be less likely to abstain and more likely to become sexually active.

I don't live in D.C., but I am a black woman and the mother of a 10-year-old daughter. If history is a judge, she has a greater risk of getting cervical cancer than her white girlfriends. I haven't had a conversation yet with her pediatrician about the HPV vaccine, and I would like to think that I still have a few years before I need to talk to my daughter about STDs. The questions remain for many - what age is appropriate to talk about HPV and the vaccine? Should it be mandatory? Or is this much ado about nothing?
What I don't understand...is why parents are making a huge deal about this vaccine. Do you have a "talk" with your kid when they get the Hep. B shot? No. Do you give them "the talk" about a "dirty nail" when they get the tetanus shot? No. Just tell them it's for their health and that's it. As for promoting sex...by getting a tetanus shot I didn't feel more obligated to run around and step on nails. So the promoting sex thing needs to stop and the whole hype about "the talk" should stop.
Due to their track record I'd want to see a heck of a lot more research done before I'd let my kid be vaccinated by anything new. There's quite a few people out there who think their kids got autism from being vaccinated. Let's see ... then there's the HRT mess, vioxx, etc etc. Anyone see a pattern here??
I have HPV, so I know the reality is that I could get cervical cancer. I wish I had the option to get the vaccine so I could have avoided it. I don't think there should be a conversation about what's age appropriate, really- considering what's on TV, and how early kids learn about sex these days- educating them is going to be the first step to prevention. Men can't be tested for HPV either, so why would you leave it only up to the women to worry about it? It only makes sense. I think that if you aren't vaccinated by the time you reach puberty, then you should be. Sex will occur no matter how little or how much you talk to your kids about it. The sooner people realize that, and stop worrying about 'protecting' kids from things in this world, the better off we will be.
Regardless of your family's stance on pre-marital sex, things happen. Do you really want to punish your daughter with cervical cancer because of potentially one moment of weakness in her teens, or because her husband was unfaithful to her as a young wife? I also question that if this disease is so rampant, whether or not it could be contracted in different ways? Wouldn't it be awful if all these girls went unvaccinated, and then ten years from now we discover that HPV can be contracted from an unclean toilet seat? I'm not willing to stake my life on it, which is why as a sexually abstinent person who intends to remain as such until marriage, I am going to ask for Gardasil with my next doctor's visit.
It appears that a large part of this controversy centers around whether or not parents would like their children to know about sex, and talking to their daughters about HPV and cervical cancer equates to "the talk". While 13 is very young, chances are that these middle-school-aged girls have already had a sexual education in school to some degree, either through health programs or their peers. Young as they are, these girls may not know whether or not they are going to commit to absinence in their later teens, and with STD rates as high as they are, I feel that a preventative measure such as Gardasil is nothing short of a blessing. If I had a daughter, I would opt for the vaccine.
I'm 25 and not a parent, so I have a different perspective than others on this issue.

However, I lost my mother to breast cancer last year and I believe that if we have the opportunity to prevent thousands of unnecessary cancer-related deaths -- we have a moral obligation to ourselves and our families to do so.

Also: children ages 10 - 12 already know much more about sex than perhaps even most adults. The odds of exposing them to a formerly unknown concept is, at best, extremely minimal. The potental life-saving benefit far outweighs the potential for an awkward conversation.

And as for very young girls: why can't parents and doctors simply explain that it's a vaccine to protect them against a certain form of cancer. . . and leave out more details for when they're older?

Also, depressing but realistic: even if girls choose to abstain from sexual activity, there is always the chance that they could be assaulted or cheated on, lied to, etc., while in a "monogamous" relationship. Through no fault of their own, they could still contract HPV.

Ultimately, the opportunity to protect girls from this life-threatening disease is too important to miss.
Sex is something that should be talked about from the beginning of their life, from naming parts during bath time to discussing where babies come from. There are books that deal with the topic for different age levels. I think problems arise when topics like sex and drugs are not brought up. Do you want her peers telling her about these things? These issues are out there. Not talking about them is not going to protect your child, and in fact could hurt her. No one wants to think that there child will become sexually active at an early age, but reality shows that many teens are. The vast majority of people have pre-marital sex, even if it is only with the person they married. And even if a girl waits until she is married to have sex, she could get HPV from her husband. Besides, no one deserves to get cancer for having sex at an early age. That would not be a very Christian thing to think, although I know there are people out there who probably feel that way. If you want to opt her out, fine. Can't you already do that for other life-threatening conditions such as polio? And on a more practical note, it is so much more economical to have a series of shots to prevent cancer than to have insurance pay for surgery, chemo, and radiation. Why as Americans do we always want to deal with a problem after the fact and not prevent it?
My husband and I have had the discussion about whether or not to vacinate our daughter, and it lasted 10 seconds. Of course we will. Yet, we are Christians who have strong beliefs about sex before marriage. Our thinking? One-- children receive vaccinations every day without being given a lecture on what they are for. It's just one more shot scheduled for that appointment. Two-- any female could someday be--god forbid!-- raped by an HPV carrier. Three-- what if someday our daughter's lawful husband turns out to be an HPV carrier? Should she suffer for his youthful wrongs? Safer to slip in the vaccination on a routine medical visit, and let her know about it when she's older.
The HPV vaccine is a great advance.. but as a DES daughter (my mother took DES while pregnant with me) who is at high risk of cervical cancer due to that fact, I feel the adds are deceptive in implying that all cases of cervical cancer are caused by a sexually transmitted disease. Still, if I had a daughter, I would want her to be vaccinated.
This is a vaccine that could eliminate a type of cancer -- wow! I think that you could have a 13-year-old girl vaccinated to prevent cervical cancer WITHOUT discussing sex.
I just want to say my viewpoint on this vaccine is that there is so much press in the media about its existence, yet when you try to find places that actually are providing it, you will find yourself looking for a really long time.

I am away from my home at college. I called my college health center...they aren't carrying it (recently i heard they can prescribe it, you have to pick it up from the CVS nearby, and they can administer it---really complicated)

Planned parenthood isnt carrying it the last i checked

My local gynecologist isnt even carrying it.

The health department in my hometown decided to stop carrying it when they realized most people wont pay 360$ today for the vaccine, even though it costs a lot more than that over a lifetime getting examined for abnormal cells. And that is a city health department!

Why promote so heavily and not be prepared to carry it!!!

I think some of the statistics on the virus are fascinating, I have read that over every persons life time the chance of getting an abnormal test result at least once is like 75% yet no one talks about it. I even have had friends that have had abnormal tests results and are told by nurse practitioners that it isnt a big deal!

Anyways, I just want to find a place that makes it convenient and easy to get vaccinated. Maybe its the location of the health departments, or my university, but the money isnt the issue for me, its the fact i cant find it anywhere!
Would we even be having this debate if it was a vaccine that prevented penile cancer in boys due to a virus? I think not. Our society is so focused on sex/sexual behaviour, mainly in regards to what females should or should not be doing, that they are missing the point. It's a vaccine that prevents CANCER. To those who question giving the vaccine to their daughters simpley because of "the talk" etc.- how are you going to feel if she does get cancer, and you could have prevented it? Having watched many of my close relatives die from cancer, one of cervical cancer, I can't imagine why someone would not save their child (or themselves for that matter)from that horrific ordeal.
What are you people scared of? The HPV vaccine is to prevent cancer. That is all that matters. It is not promoting underage sex. You can get HPV at ANY age and there are over 100 different strains ranging from planters warts to gentital warts to the strains that cause cervical cancer. This vaccine is a great achievement in medicine and cancer prevention. It should be celebrated not boycotted. If you vaccinated your daughters you are protecting them from 70% of cervical cancers but not all strains of HPV. They are still vulnerable STIs so the sex talk should still be given!
As a married woman with HPV who is about to have her first surgery, let your daughters get the shot. One of my best girlfriends has HPV as well and at 30 is facing the reality of having a hysterectomy. I agree that there is not enough research and information out there for the vaccine or HPV. However, with the many doctors visits, colposcopies, Pap's, biopsy's and ultimate surgeries my friend and I have endured, trust me it's worth it. I would love to see the medical community focus more time on studying the virus and creating a vaccine for men, since women end up bearing the burden.
I am 16 years old and im vaccinated. It is very comforting to know that my risk of getting cervical cancer has decreased drastically. I am sexually active, but im very careful. Im on birth control and always use a condom. Speaking from the perspective of a sexually active teen, I think that this vaccine is an amazing progression in health care for women. With as many victims of cancer as there are, how can anyone NOT want more protection from the horrible desease. And just to clue in some ignorant parents/adults, teens have a lot more sex than most people would think. I've been sexually active since I was 14. And that's not rare at all.
I feel the "talk" should take place as soon as you feel your child is exposed to sex (whether it be through the media, through friends, or other) and are able to understand what is going on. My personal opinion is that parents far too often leave it up to others (such as myself, health teacher) to teach their children about sex. Then we have the issue of whether it should be abstinence only education or comprehensive sex education. Expressing your personal beliefs with your child will help avoid this issue. However, research indicates that comprehensive sex education makes it no more likely for teens to engage in sexual acts, and often postpones sexual activity. But many feel, especially those with a devout religious background, that this would be promoting sexual activity when a student is taught the 7 correct steps to putting on a condom. What is lost in this article is that HPV is not the only possible life threatening STI out there. While having a vaccine for HPV is great, there is still no vaccine for HIV and the only 2 preventive measures that can be taken are 1) Abstinence and 2) Condoms. There are also other STI's out there that are both viral (for which there is no cure) and bacterial (can be cured). Both of which can cause mental and physical distress and problems. Whether this be problems with future sexual partners in adulthood for someone with herpes, or a teen with chlamydia that goes undiagnosed because it often doesn't present obvious symptoms in females and leads to Pelvic inflammatory Disease and leaves her unable to have children.

My main point here, which I think got lost, is that this vaccine only protects against HPV (and the subsequent cervical cancer) but it does not protect from the other STI's (or pregnancy) that are out there. So when communicating with your daughter that she is safe from HPV, it should be made clear that unprotected sex leaves her open to contracting other sexually transmitted infections which can be devastating and in one case life threatening. Condom usage needs to be encouraged to all who decide to forgo abstinence and engage in sexually activity.
I completely support this vaccination. I am an oncology nurse, and if there is a vaccination available to prevent cervical cancer in women, I say go for it. People are blowing this out of proportion. You don't have to have "the talk" with your 9 year old child, it's a vaccination, not a birth control or contraceptive method. I think if there was a vaccine to prevent testicular cancer or breast cancer, people wouldn't have an issue with it. Yes, HPV is spread through sexual contact, but if there was a vaccine for HIV would you want your child to get this? Absolutely! By allowing your child to get this vaccine, you are not saying that it's ok to go out and have sex, you're simply helping to prevent a fatal disease. In my opinion there is no question, just get your daughters vaccinated!
I want to know one thing- Why isn't it being broadcast that there is no way to test men to find out if they have HPV? They could walk around with it their entire lives and not know about it. Not to mention, anyone could walk around carrying it for years and the virus may not spring up until it feels like it. Shouldn't this fact have been brought up in the original blog article? What about the fact that people can get certain strains of HPV that will simply go away, because it's a virus? People are so sadly misinformed about this virus, and what it can cause, aside from cervical cancer, that it astounds me. We need to be educating the public in general about it so they can make better, more informed, decisions. My doctor told me that 85% of sexually active people have HPV... now, that number may or may not be 100% correct, but I'm willing to bet that it is close- are you going to worry about talking to your kids about sex young, or worry about guarding their health?
It is beginning to look like cancer vaccines in many different forms might be the way of the future. Prostate cancer patients may have some hope on the horizon as it was announced today that the FDA granted Provenge (an immune therapy) fast track review status for late stage patients. Hopefully this is just the beginning because these types of therapies have show hope of even better performance the earlier the drug is administered.
I am a 47 year-old woman, who was diagnosed with HPV in 1996. I had regular PAP screenings up until 2003. I missed my PAP in 2004 & 2005. In January 2006, after having relations with my husband, I bleed profusely. I called my gynocologist and went in for an exam and he did a PAP. He thought he was looking at a cervical fibroid. He also decided to biopsy it at the same time, just to be on the safe side. While I was waiting for the results, I did my own research. What jumped out at me was the fact that fibroids need estrogen to thrive. I went through menopause early and, at that time, hadn't had a period in 6 years. That left only one diagnosis. Cervical Cancer. When I saw my gynocological oncologist, I had an 8 cm tumor on my cervix. Luckily, it had not spread to any other parts of my body, but it was too big to surgically remove. I underwent chemotherapy and radiation. My doctor felt that I was a good candidate for a clinical trial for a new chemo drug and I agreed to go into the study. I was given two chemo drugs on Monday of one week. Then the following Monday, I got both chemo drugs again on Monday and on Wednesday and Friday of that same week, I only got the experimental drug. It went like this for 5 weeks. Also, everyday, Monday through Friday I also received external radiation. On Mondays, when I received both chemo drugs, I would be in the chemo lab from 9 am until 7:30 pm and then still have to have someone open the radiation office so that I could receive my radiation treatment. I dealt with the nausea and the exaustion to get through my treatments on time. Towards the end of my treatments, I had to have internal radiation. This was done in a University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Internal radiation consists of an instument being inserted into the vagina and then radio active seeds being implanted into the cervix for a specified amount of time (usually about 10 minutes). After having 5 weeks of external radiation, the scar tissue in my vagina made it feel like the doctor was inserting an instument with at least a 10cm diameter. It was very painful and uncomfortable even though I was given pain medication. I spent 6 weeks in treatment and then it took me 7 weeks to recover from the treatments. I am a relatively health person, but I was wiped out.
I have a 16 year-old daughter, and you can bet that I am going to make sure she has the opportunity to get this vaccine. I would not want her or any other person to have to go through what I went through. If there is something out there that can prevent a cancer, I'm all for it. Most people don't think twice about vaccinating their children against any other contagious disease, why would they think twice about this? I wish there had been a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer when I was my daughter's age.
It does make a difference, but only if people�s intentions are good. They want to know how a person is doing in order to send well wishes, or include the person in their prayers.

In this instance, we all know what the intentions are of gathering this information: to stay on the cusp of the �Castro death watch�.

Castro may be an �evil� dictator, but if and when he dies, and no matter what his cause of death is, it will no doubt throw the country into a state of flux -- even if Raul is on the watch. The facts are, however, that Castro has taken care of an entire nation, with the support of very few people. All citizens have health care. All citizens are educated � some very highly. All citizens can have a home, and some type of income. It�s not an ideal situation, and perhaps some would prefer to live without the security that they have, but it is what it is.

And whether or not he has cancer or diverticulitis, he�s still a human being, who is suffering.
The Talk became conversation between my daughter and I, when at eleven she began her cycle. As young as she was I kept the conversation as light as I could and explained the facts! The only thing dirty about sex is the approach and delivery. All young ladies should get the vac. and wipe out this horror. Getting a vac. should be a health issue and not a sexual one ,if you believe this is not a topic for young girls. The parents approach to this is the deciding factor. Protect your daughters.
a dad in upstate NY
I am a 25 year old white female who two years ago went thru two surgery's to get rid of my cervical cancer. I promote this vacine any chance I get and am in the process of contacting my insurance company to see how much of this vacine they will cover since I am still in the age range to get it. It was not available to me before but is now and it will help in preventing my HPV from coming back. I only have one partner and he has only been with me however I have shared my HPV with him and could get it back. I recomend the vacine because the the other just does not seem an option if it doesnt have to be. I am 25 and at the age of 26 we have to start trying to get pregnant and we only have one year to accomplish that. After the one year I have to have a historectomy and our only other option will be adoption. I do not want this for your children or mine. Please dont make it a choice make it a requirement before reaching highschool if not sooner. Kids are being more sexually active now at a younger age than even when I was younger and even then it was to soon.
As a former middle-school teacher, I strongly believe that "sex education" must start early, whether in the school or at home...and preferably both. The level of detail and sophistication must then progress, just as the maturity of the child does. First, starting with "There ARE differences between boys and girls," and later " Petunia, our cat, will soon have kittens, but only because...) Life for children and their teachers and their parents would be GREATLY simplified if I could have spoken the work "sex" in the presence of twelve-year-olds without having the entire class blush, whisper and titter.
During my 4 year OB/GYN residency in Saginaw, Michigan we delivered 4 girls who were 8 years old at the time they gave birth. Twelve year olds having babies hardly merited mention at morning rounds. A 10 year old may be too old to benefit from the new vaccine.
My daughter is 24 so I am a bit pass this question. But when my daughter was younger she received all her vaccinations. There was no need to say anything more than here is another one. When they are that young, detailed explanations are not needed and should be postponed until they are older and can understand all the implicaitons. It is just like when your 5-year old child asks where babies come from. You tell them they grew in Mommy's tummy. You don't exlain the sex act until they are older and ask more detailed questions.
Responding to JudyS, yes, let's look at the track record of vaccines. Wiped out smallpox, which was responsible for 300-500 million deaths in the 20th century. Wiped out polio, talk to an older person about this crippling disease that we no longer have to worry about. The list goes on and on. And yet there are still loving parents out there who won't vaccinate their kids. Some will throw autism on the table (despite the fact that studies haven't backed up this fear). Others simply seem to have a problem with the same medical science that increased life expectancy in the US from 49 years in 1901 to 77 years in 2000.
Parents should treat it as just another childhood shot, after all that's what it is. No one gives kids a talk about polio or measles, they need the shot and we give it to them.

To our shock our governor has decided all young women in South Dakota will get this shot, along with all the other shots the state provides to all our children. Why a shock? He's the catholic governor who tried to ban all abortions last year.

This debating about giving "the talk" is a little like removing the seatbelts in your car so your kid doesn't speed. The shot is a safety device. Who can argue with making their kids safer.
The vaccine is a good thing. Nobody deserves to have cancer. However, I think many people will see this as another thing that makes sex outside of marriage ok. I think the responsibility relies with the parents to educate the children about these things before they decide they are going to find out on their own. My case in point is the 16 year old that so proudly posted about having sex since she was 14. The vaccination is a very good thing. The vaccination without parental guidance might be seen by some young adults as a vehicle for "safe" pre-marital sex and this country does not need anything more to tear at its moral fabric.
My feeling is that if Castro was living in the United States, would the release of his medical condition(s) to the public not be covered by HIPPA regulations? If so, we should apply the same for a foreign individual regardless of status. I think it is relevant to know whether or not he is on his "deathbed" as this would impact the transition of power in Cuba (and international relationships). However, I do not need to be educated about the actual specifics of his conditions.
Why is their any discussion at all regarding this vaccine since it has been developed to SAVE LIVES! I was diagnosed with HPV a few years and was extremely lucky that it was detected early or my chances to develop cervical cancer would have increased dramatically. I was in my late twenties when diagnosed as there are no symptoms for women or men. The stats indicate that 75% or more of sexually active adults have contracted and passed on this disease so why would you NOT want to vaccinate your little girls!! Stop being selfish and worrying only about sex and worry about your little girls dying from cervical cancer at the age of 35! Get the vaccine.
I was diagnosed at age 25 with HPV. I was married with two small children and had only had one sexual partner ~ my husband. But because he had had more than one sexual partner, I was exposed to everything he had come in contact with. I suffered the colposcopies, biopsies, years of follow-up exams. Was there anything else I could have done to protect myself? I guess I could have required my husband to use condoms. But I wasn't supposed to have to do that in a marriage. Naive? Perhaps. But I'll bet many of you reading this post trust your husbands too.

HPV doesn't discriminate. And I would imagine that if you explained to your daughter that there was a vaccine that would protect her from CANCER, she would have a much better grasp of what that means than she would your desire to protect her from a sexually transmitted virus. Everyone knows someone who has wrestled with cancer.....they have names and faces. Nobody talks about being infected with sexually transmitted viruses.

Please vaccinate your daughters.
You would be an idiot to not immunize your children with Gardasil. Why even take the risk of seeing them in physical and emotional pain down the road due to complications with cervical cancer or pre-cancerous cells? Sure the reports tell you how many people die of cervical cancer but they don't tell you how many women suffer through biopsies, colposcopies, LEEPS, and other traumatizing procedures just to get rid of the pre-cancerous cells. I don't ever want to watch my unborn daughter cry during these procedures the way I did while holding my own mother's hand.
Is it that important to talk about the vaccination in depth with your child? Do you discuss the booster shots, tetanus shots, and other vaccinations in depth? The shot should be mandatory if it's deemed safe in order to eradicate virus and diseases that it causes in the population. The thought that this shot would promote more sex, unsafe safe sex, and sex at a younger age is ludicrous.
Something to consider with the HPV vaccine is the high cost financially.
The current going rate for the series of three injections is just under $600 in Michigan. Insurance is currently not offering any help with the costs because the vaccine is so new. Middle and lower class families are not going to be able to afford this important vaccine.
I agree with the very first comment. This has nothing to do with having to talk to your kids about sex. You get them immunized from infancy on and never have a 'talk' with them about it except to say it will keep you from getting sick. At 13 there is no reason a parent cant take a kid to the doctors and tell them they have to get an hpv shot..just like they get a tetnus or rhubella shot. 90% of kids could care less what the shot is vaccinating them against.

That being said, if I had a daughter I would wait for several more years of research before I let my daughter get the shot. One cant help be leary of new drugs the pop up on the market and then get pulled when they find out they kill people.
I have a six year old daughter. Her father and I have been divorced for two years. We haven't always agreed on everything (hence the divorce) but we have agreed that as soon as she was old enough to get this vaccine, we would make sure she got it. Anything that we can do to protect her from this horrible disease, we will. Sexual activity has nothing to do with it...protecting your child from a killer does.
Pattern? Yes, I do see a pattern. More people would die without medications than those who are adversely affected by a treatment. Antibiotics and vaccinations have made it so we are no longer afraid of minor infections that used to lead to death. That being said, before starting a new medication, always have a conversation with your doctor about the risks and benefits.
I had HPV and your story is inaccurate. There is a very good treatment out there for women and men alike. Instead of putting comments like, "I am a black woman" up there, you should put that space to better use and discuss a cream called ALDARA which helps men with HPV.
Yes the world should know about it, the same we know about the health of President Bush, Clinton,etc. When you are a public figure, your private life is over. You are a public servant, you serves to the public. Same with priest and pastor, etc. Then we have the right to be informed
I'm a mom of an 11 year old girl, and a pediatrician. Both my sister and my medical school roommate unfortunately acquired HPV infection during their 20's while dating "nice guys", and I've taken care of lots of adolescent girls with Pap smear changes, some needing colposcopy or LEEPS. I am THRILLED to have Guardisil on the market, and have already started vaccinating my own daughter and enthusiastically promoting it to all my patients. The protection given by the vaccine is more effective when given BEFORE folks are exposed to the virus, so it's essential to try to catch kids well before sexual activity starts. As others have said, wearing seat belts does not encourage risky driving, nor does talking about healthy sexual practices lead to early initiation of sexual activity.
I think that unless it is of epidemic proportions, the government has no business telling us that young girls have to have this vaccine. Are there any long term, 25 years or more, studies that show the long term effects? I think caution and education is what we need to be practicing here.
Our daughter is dating an African American young man. As we have gotten to know this young man�s family we have been stunned by the family network. Living within the same household are five children, none of whom has the same father, and one young adult who is a child conceived by the mother's former boyfriend and his girlfriend, and of no biological relationship to anyone else in the family. There are additional half siblings living in several different states, offspring of short-term relationships over the years. All told, the biological parents in this family represent 7 children each. If this family is at all representative of the larger African American community, with this degree of sexual contact over the course of nearly three decades the wonder is not the high HPV rate among blacks, but that the issue of promiscuity seems not to be effectively addressed in any public way. The spread of sexually transmitted disease is, well, through sex. Sleeping around raises the likelihood of contracting HVP and other STD's. And, even apart from the potentially life-threatening consequences of these diseases, a huge "family bush" creates economic and social havoc within entire family communities. Neglecting to bring forth this awareness only consigns subsequent generations to dysfunctional home life, lack of loving leadership and coaching within the home, and long-term stunting and underachievement in a community that is very gifted. An HPV vaccine sounds appropriate, but certainly does not address the real issue.
I have two young daughters (age 1 & 3), and when they are old enough, you'd better believe I'm getting them the vax. It has nothing to do with introducing them to sex!

I think that parents who are afraid of whether or not their kids will associate it with a sexual free-for-all have forgotten that the role of the parent is to GUIDE, not to CONTROL. Parents cannot "control" kids, we can only guide them by giving them ways to gain self control, personal discipline and a moral center. The rest is up to them.

As for the vax, it is a means to prevent a horrible disease, and NOTHING MORE. It won't protect from pregnancy, and it won't protect from anything else at all. How on earth is this, by any stretch of the imagination, supposed to somehow give kids the idea that their parents are OK with them having sex? It's about cancer/disease prevention!
I can't believe opponents of the Gardasil vaccine are trying to use that tactic as a way of preventing parents and doctors from protecting these young girls from HPV and cervical cancer. 12-year olds, unfortunately, have often gotten a good earful about sex already--from TV, movies, the internet, friends, etc. Maybe getting it from good resources, like parents and doctors would help. I was only 20 when I got an "abnormal" pap result...I was mortified to find out that it was related to HPV that may have been passed to me sexually (I only had 1 partner). But my doctor also told me that this same virus was also considered to be responsible for other viral outbreaks like plantars warts and cold sores, and usually just stayed in the body--coming out when it felt like it. I had been treated for plantars warts several times in high school, so it gave me some measure of comfort. While the biopsy (to confirm) and the resulting cryosurgery were not all that awful, I was lucky that my situation only required minimal cell freezing. There are plenty of other young women out there who have had to do more radical surgery that has left them with incompetent cervices--thus making it very difficult, if not impossible, for them to support a pregnancy later down the road when they decide to start a family. Then there are those women who actually die from it...which is incredibly tragic because they are so young and this is so preventable. Would you allow your child to die or be maimed by polio? Or any of the other serious diseases for which we currently vaccinate? If you think of it that way--it's much easier to make the decision.
America is so willing and ready to have the government stick a needle in them. I personally feel the choice should be made between the mother and the daughter, as I am completely tired of government jurisdiction on healthcare. I highly doubt higher institutions are ever going to require something like an HPV vaccine along with your typical MMR and Hepatitis shots. It seems implausable to me. On the other hand, a male friend of mine put it this way, "I see it as a method of preventing thousands of little girls from having to endure a biopsy."
A couple of responses I've read here so far come from people worried about a "new drug" that "hasn't been adequately tested yet." I may have a unique prospective as a participant in a clinical research trial for the HPV vaccine several years ago. During the course of the trial (and in the years since receiving the vaccine), I had no side effects, normal laboratory studies, and have had normal PAP smears. Many of my friends and colleagues had a similar experience. Vaccinate your daughters.
The Gardasil vaccine should be given long before your daughter could possibly choose to be sexually active. It is a vaccine to prevent cervical cancer - not a carte blanche license to have sex immediately thereafter! A discussion of sex does not necessarily have to accompany the vaccine. Vaccinate your daughters!
Regarding the woman asking about telling her daughter about STD's at age 10; our children have vaccines for many things we never explain to them, polio, chicken pox,tetanus etc. When the time comes that she asks about it or is CONCERNED whether she received it, she'll ask you. But she will be relieved to know it was taken care of at the right time!!
I BELIEVE IT SHOULD BE MANDATORY.
I don't see the big debate over Gardasil for young girls. Wouldn't parents rather have their child vaccinated against something that could possibly kill them later in life? I just watched my mother die from cervical cancer and it is not pretty, I would vaccinate my daughter in a hearbeat to spare her from this outcome. If the question is about discussing sexual activity, then don't-tell your daughter she is getting a shot like all her other shots and she probably won't ask any further questions. Even if she does, I would rather discuss what the shot was then have her be infected with what is now a preventable disease. It is up to parents to protect their children, and Gardasil will do just that.
Do you "talk" with your little new born son before a circumcision?
I say vaccinate your child. You can choose to explain it any way you like. Consider this scenario: Your virtuous, modest, chaste and virginal daughter marries a widower who was completely faithful to his late wife. Trouble is, his late wife was a wild one in her teens, and was infected with HPV 18. Since she died in a car accident long before the infection could become cancer, she unwittingly passed the infection on to her husband. Do you think your perfectly virginal, chaste daughter deserves to be at risk from cervical cancer because her faithful husband's late wife was infected?

My mother was completely faithful to my father throughout her marriage. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to her, my father was NOT faithful. My mom had to face a scolding family physician when she contracted Chlamydia at one point, and Trichomonas at another. She was hardly to blame for either infection, but the doctor blamed her all the same--and at least those two infections aren't usually fatal if treated in a timely fashion.

The problem with NOT giving the vaccine is that everyone who has sex inside or outside of marriage is exposed to any and all diseases their partner may have been exposed to, wittingly or unwittingly.
I just love how everyone blindly believes in this vaccine. With drugs that were FDA approved going bad all the time, to expose young girls, no let me correct that, MAKING young girls take a shot, that is only a few months old seems a bit risky. Say 4 or 5 years from now its found that the vaccine, can cause birth defects or infertility in 25% of the woman that have taken the shot, would you still jump on the band wagon! We don't make our young girls have breast exams for school. We don't make kids take flu shots! Why because we know it only works on some kids! This isn't about having the talk, this isn't about sex. This is about blinding believing the company that gave us vioxx! And it being pushed down everyones throat by the government. Merck is the company that is funding the lobbying of washington! All of you that are saying I will. Again have you taken your six year old for annual gyno visits or breast exams? And why not find a cure for the 4 virus that cause most of the cervical cancer! Because there is no money once something is CURED!!!! Parents are still learying time tested vaccines, because of the rare instance of problems! And this surprises me coming for you ladies. Remember how many jumped on the Norplant? Come why not give this a while to prove itself. Thats all I'm asking, before you MAKE ME give it to my children.
Kris has the right idea. My lawful husband was an asymptomatic carrier of HPV virus, which he passed to me. I am a cervical cancer survivor. If I had a daughter I would have her vaccinated, no question about it. And I see no need to drag sexual issues into the discussion; it's a health issue, not a morality play.
It isn't a question of whether you are against premarital sex or not. Why should anyone be able to force your child to have a vaccination. If it were spread some other way, yes, but what about a girl that has pledged to be pure until she is married? What are you forcing in her body because you feel she needs a vaccination. SURE, make it available but don't force people to do it. How many rights do you expect people to give up so a pharmacutical company can be rich?? Remember the Chicken Pox vac...Well, both my neice and nephew had it and guess what they got...Chicken Pox. My sister had the MMR...guess what she got that night...measles!! What is in this vaccination that you are so for...do you know??? My nephew took a vaccination as a baby and became really sick...you know, the fevers that come along later that day...well, he has autism now.
I'm not against it just don't force someone to have something they don't want. If you want to have sex..do it; forcing someone is rape. If you want to drink..do it; forcing someone is probably against the law. If you want the cervical cancer vaccination..get it; Forcing someone should be against the law!! We are law abiding Americans here; don't take away our freedoms!!
Why use a vaccine that is so expensive and so unproven and why force it when we can cure 100% cervical cancers detected by regular cancer screenings?
Only 11,000 American women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Less than 4,000 American women die of cervical cancer each year. This is a VERY small number compared to our chances of dying because of influenza:

36,000 Americans randomly die per from the flu.

Shouldn't we be hysterically forcing each person to be getting vaccinated for the flu???
I gave my virginity when I was Twelve years old. That was in 1970.
No one talked to me about sexual hygiene. I wish they had been proactive in my school. It would have made me more cautious, responsible and sex savy. Many of us wonder what kind of people oppose sexual health. Thanks to God and country we are pulling back from the ignorance that was so much more evident only a few generations ago. We have a long, long, long way to go!
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