Human Papillomavirius is the most common sexually transmitted infection. In fact, HPV is so common that nearly all sexually-active men and women get it at some point in their lives even though most people don’t even know they have it. This is true even for people who only have sex with one person in their lifetime.
According to the CDC, there are approximately 40 types of genital HPV that can affect males and females. Some types can cause cervical cancer in women and can also cause other kinds of cancer in both men and women. Other types can cause genital warts in both males and females. Most of the time HPV goes away by itself.
Nonetheless, it can be dangerous. That’s why the CDC wants all 11 and 12-year-olds to get the HPV vaccine. “HPV vaccines are safe and effective, and can protect males and females against some of the most common types of HPV that can lead to disease and cancer. HPV vaccines are given in three shots over six months; it is important to get all three doses to get the best protection. Boys and girls at ages 11 or 12 are most likely to have the best protection provided by HPV vaccines, and their immune response to vaccine is better than older women and men.”
But, like all vaccinations, the HPV vaccine isn’t without controversy. The anti-HPV vaccine movement seemed to gain traction when Republican presidential candidate, Michele Bachman, warned against “innocent little 12-year-old girls” being “forced to have a government injection.”
Basically, it seems that people get upset because the vaccine involves sex and 12-year-olds. No one wants to think their children might be sexually active at that age. Additionally, like with other vaccines, some worry the vaccine could be dangerous. According to NPR, “Two children have died of a rare neurological disorder — an early and accelerated form of ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease — after getting the vaccine.”
But the CDC says, “We have not identified a significant likelihood of serious adverse events following vaccine,” says Dr. Joseph Bocchini, chairman of pediatrics at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, who leads the CDC’s working group on HPV vaccines. “This is a very safe vaccine.”
And the case to protect against cervical cancer is a strong one … Take a look at the new CDC video below. The good people at Upworthy say, “you will never see a shorter, straight-to-the-point, no B.S. take on vaccines.”
Do you plan on getting your child the vaccine?
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