May 12, 2009
About 20 million people in the United States are currently infected with human papillomavirus, or HPV. Combined with the fact that kids these days are having sex at alarmingly early ages, many children are putting themselves more at risk to contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). The most common STD is not surprisingly HPV, which can cause genital warts, and even cervical caner.
However, earlier this year Gardasil was associated in 29 deaths and over 5,000 visits to the emergency room. This has left parents feeling very conflicted and worried about giving the vaccine to their daughters. Yet, the benefits from the vaccine do appear to outweigh the risk.
Gardasil prevents 4 types of HPV, one which causes cervical cancer, which the American Cancer Society estimates will appear in 11, 270 new cases, resulting in 4,070 deaths in 2009. Looking at the comparison of the deaths alone proves that the risk of becoming vaccinated, is significantly lower then the risk of leaving yourself vulnerable to HPV infection. Gardasil has the potential to save millions of lives and no one should ever forget that.
Doctors and Gardisil.com both encourage women, even if they have had the Gardasil vaccine, to still regularly receive pap tests to detect any abnormalities. Pap tests are recommended either 3 years after one has become sexually active, or at the age of 21, whichever occurs first, and continued from that time on.
Additionally, parents should consider talking with their kids about sex. Talk to your kids about both the positive and negative sides of sex. Teach them how to stay safe if they plan on becoming sexually active, and tell them about STD’s. This not only teaches them important life lessons and how to keep themselves safe, but your child may feel more comfortable to tell you that they are sexually active when that time comes.