Tuesday, April 17, 2012

HPV vaccination

There's something about the thought of giving a 13 year old a vaccine against an STI that bugs me a lot. I was initially strongly against this vaccine. It's like accepting that your child will soon be engaging in unsafe sex. I don't even want my 13 year old to be close to engaging in any kind of sex!

BUT, then I really thought about it and I was able to see the reality that we cannot control our teens 100% and that we don't know what behaviours they will engage in when they're older. It could be unsafe sex no matter how careful I was in the way I raised them and I would prefer they be safe even if they were engaging in behaviours I disapprove of.

Next BUT, I don't feel 100% positive about over-vaccination (I'm not an anti-vax mom, but I'm not crazy about it and prefer to avoid ones I find less important). And I know that the HPV only protects against some of the strains...

I don't know what I'll do when the time comes... I have a long time to think about it and get more information about it as studies continue since it is very new at the moment...

How do you feel about the HPV vaccine? How do you feel about vaccination overall? Will your daughter be getting this vaccine, would you give it to your daughter if it was free?

9 Comentários:

Becky said...

Hun, I think you need to read a bit more about this vaccine, because it really sounds to me like you don't understand what it actually does.

The reason why it's given to 13 year-olds (12 in Denmark) is not to encourage anyone to have sex, safe or not, at that age, but because the vaccine is much more effective if given before anyone has sex.

Furthermore, pretty much everyone who is sexually active will be infected by one of the HPV viruses sooner or later (the exception here would of course be two young people who both are virgins, and who never sleep with anyone else, but, as I'm sure you know, that's frankly not something I'd count on). This is especially since the virus is transferred through skin to skin contact, so even using a condom cannot fully protect against it, if there's still manual stimulation.

"Are there other ways to prevent HPV?
For those who are sexually active, condoms may lower the chances of getting HPV, if used with every sex act, from start to finish. Condoms may also lower the risk of developing HPV-related diseases (genital warts and cervical cancer). But HPV can infect areas that are not covered by a condom—so condoms may not fully protect against HPV.

People can also lower their chances of getting HPV by being in a faithful relationship with one partner; limiting their number of sex partners; and choosing a partner who has had no or few prior sex partners. But even people with only one lifetime sex partner can get HPV. And it may not be possible to determine if a partner who has been sexually active in the past is currently infected. That's why the only sure way to prevent HPV is to avoid all sexual activity." (Emphasis is mine) http://www.cdc.gov/std/hpv/stdfact-hpv-vaccine-young-women.htm

Furthermore, the vaccines protect against the most common strains, if I remember correctly, they can protect against 85% of all cases of cervical cancer. I didn't look up the statistics for Canada, but 12,000 women get cervical cancer every year in the US, and 4,000 women die from it every year.

Becky said...

Oh yes, and it's free here in Denmark, my youngest sister got it (my other sister and I were too old). My mum let it be her own choice, although we all talked to her about it and agreed it was a good idea - her main issue was the vaccination itself, she's not fond of needles, but in the end she agreed that the protection was worth the discomfort.

Stacy aka Fahiima said...

My main issue with the HPV vaccine would be the side effects that have been reported including quite a few cases of sudden death. I am also not convinced about its efficacy.
If I was convinced that the vaccine was safe, I would consider having my kids get it at some point in their teen years. The same is true of Hep.B, which I refused to get for my daughter at birth.

LK said...

Actually you can get HPV from other things besides sex. Sex is the most common way. In this day and age its highly unlikely that every partner a woman has will be a virgin whether they start at 16 or 26. I got the shot in my early 20s. Its a smart thing to do as cervical cancer is a huge cause of death in women. The vaccine doesn't = sex just like putting a teen on birth control doesn't automatically mean they will have sex. I didn't. Teens and young adults will have sex whether they are protected or not its how you educate them that makes the difference.

Candice said...

Becky: I knew mostly all of that but it doesn't change my initial reaction and thoughts. I also know that the goal is not to encourage kids to have sex and that it's probably not going to encourage kids to have sex either for the most part.

The only thing I didn't know was that it could be passed even with a condom which makes it more easily caught than I even thought.

For the stats, if my memory is good, it's 70% of cases of cervical cancer caused by those strains and I read that it's highly effective too so of course the stats are good on helping prevent cervical cancer. In Canada it's 400 who die of it per year. Of course, the majority of those found it too late because of not taking regular pap tests... Regular pap tests are very effective too in preventing cervical cancer because the abnormal cells are dealt with before they become cancerous.

Stacy: I didn't know about the sudden death cases! I know I'll be looking into it again in some years when my daughter gets to that age to make a final decision on it.

LK: Education is key, for sure! And in a way I'm glad the vaccine is becoming more popular, whether or not my daughter ends up getting it, because it makes her safer by having lower chances of having contact with an infected partner. I believe in doing what I want others to be doing though so I'll be making an informed decision in some years' time. (I hate how the anti-vax people are so strongly against vaccinating and cannot acknowledge that everyone is safer, including their own children, because of the others who chose to vax).

LK said...

BTW Becky is correct they often won't give it to you if you have been sexually active which is why they do it in the early teens. Most still wait till college to have intercourse but that doesn't mean they haven't engaged in other activities which could produce HPV. Just in case you might as well get it done when you are pretty sure they aren't active. Like I said, I had it done with 0 issues. Just some slight skin irritation at the site of the injection for about a week. And I had it done when it first came out. Its been improved since.

The "do not vaccinate" people confuse me. The only reason their kids are safe is because the majority vaccinate. Its so weird.

Jess said...

Well, how would you feel if she didn't get it and contracted HPV & then got cervical cancer? If you KNEW you could have prevented it...

Candice said...

LK: Yep, the anti-vax ppl totally confuse me too... There's something they don't understand.

Jess: quoting my own post which you just read, "and I would prefer they be safe even if they were engaging in behaviours I disapprove of."

Jess said...

Sorry, I wasn't trying to disregard what you said in the post, just that it's difficult to balance the over-vaccination popular now and the benefits. Wasn't trying to say you didn't care about their health!

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