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Should Your Daughter Get The HPV Vaccine?

The HPV shot: right for your kid? Probably.

Let’s just go with “yes” on this one.

Need more detail? Here’s one mom’s story of how she decided to bite the bullet and sign her daughter up for the HPV vaccine. She’d initially decided to skip it, given how new the vaccine was and how young her little girl was. Did her 9-year-old really need to be protected from a sexually-transmitted infection? She liked to think not.

Now the vaccine has been around for a few years and her daughter is a few years older. Her thinking on this shot has shifted.

With Michele Bachmann still grabbing headlines over her silly claims about this vaccine, it’s a great time to reiterate why your daughter should have it. 

As Rachel Zimmerman finds, the shot isn’t as scary as all that. Reports of negative effects have largely been overblown. The real controversy surrounds the fact that HPV is, in most cases, a sexually transmitted disease. Vaccinating your child against is akin to admitting that she might ever have sex.

Guess what? She probably will. And she won’t necessarily tell you about it when she does, or make the same choices you’d make about it. As Zimmerman puts it:

It’s not clear whether condoms can prevent HPV, and oral sex is believed to be a major source of transmission. So there’s no other good way to protect against HPV besides the vaccine except abstinence and monogamy. Obviously, those both have a lot going for them. But perhaps my daughter will have other priorities than her mother.

Regardless of what you think of sexual promiscuity as a lifestyle choice, it should be pretty clear that cervical cancer is not a consequence you’d wish on your kid. The HPV vaccine doesn’t encourage teenagers to have sex, it just protects them if they’re exposed to a sexually transmitted disease. Which, not to be grim about it, they could be for reasons that are beyond their control, like being the victim of violence or having a partner who cheats.

Vaccinating against HPV is the best way to protect kids from a potentially life-threatening illness. It doesn’t matter that it’s an illness associated with sex. Everyone deserves to be protected from a cancer-causing virus, no matter how it’s contracted or what “values” you profess to hold about promiscuous sex.

Photo: rocknroll_guitar

 

 

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