Should I get my teen vaccinated for HPV?
Real Mom Problem
“Have any of your teens had the HPV vaccine? I am really on the fence about this.”
- 1. Vaccines can prevent the spread of HPV, the human papillomavirus, an STD that causes most forms of cervical cancer, as well as other rarer cancers
- 2. About 12,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year
- 3. The CDC recommends vaccination against HPV beginning at 11 or 12 years of age
- 4. Research the risks and benefits associated with the HPV vaccine before getting your teen vaccinated
- 5. Boys can be vaccinated against HPV, too
- 6. Always discuss your vaccination questions and concerns with your child's healthcare provider
Real Mom Solutions
Are you considering vaccinating your teen against HPV? Check out these moms' reasons for and against getting the HPV vaccine.
No -- The Vaccine Is Too New
I did not let my daughter have the HPV shot. I researched extensively about the vaccination before I came to that conclusion. The risks of possible long-term adverse side effects far outweighed the possible chance of her getting cancer. This drug has not been studied enough; they have no idea if this drug can cause cancer itself or even infertility, plus so much more. I do believe it's up to every parent to decide, but I think before getting the shot, every parent should research the drug. I would love to think my daughter is going to stay a virgin until marriage, but I think any parent that truly thinks that's going to happen is fooling themselves. We need to talk to our children, teach them the risks out there, teach them how to respect themselves and others, teach them how to protect themselves, and once becoming sexually active, get regular pap tests.
Personally, I would never let my kids get it and I have fought my state from mandating it. The HPV vaccine is unnecessary and can cause serious complications, even death. It only prevents certain types of HPV and according to the CDC, 90% of HPV infections resolve themselves without treatment in two years, and of the remaining 10%, only half coincide with the development of cervical cancer.
My girls have not had the HPV vaccine and for now we are not planning on them getting it. Since it is still so new, there is so much that is not known and certainly has not been proven over time. Also, since HPV will continue to change with time there is no way to know what new strains may exist or be prevalent at a time when they become sexually active. I am open-minded on the issue, however, and respect parents who choose otherwise.
Yes -- The Benefits Outweigh the Risks
My daughter has had the HPV vaccine. I researched it, saw the possible side effects, but still think it was the best choice for us. People use the "promiscuous" thing all the time, but even if a girl (or boy) waits until marriage they could still get it on their wedding night from their new spouse. It's everyone's personal choice to vaccinate or not.
Yes, my 14-year-old son got the shot at his yearly checkup. At first I didn't want him to have it but after his doctor told me that it would protect him from genital warts and also safeguard his sexual partner when he starts having sex (which I hope is in the far away future), I decided it was for the best.
A good friend of mine is 25 and just married. She found out six months after she got married that she had cervical cancer. She has HPV, and was not promiscuous at all--has only been with two guys. Because she wasn't protected, she is not able to carry a baby. I also found out my sister has HPV and she doesn't sleep around. Good girls get HPV all the time. I will get my daughter the vaccine when she is of age.
HPV causes the majority of cervical cancers, and the HPV vaccine protects against the two types that cause 75% of cervical cancer cases and the two types that cause 90% of the genital warts cases. I had my daughter vaccinated. She did not have any adverse effects from the vaccine. I have two reasons for doing so. One, my OB/GYN basically said HPV spreads like wildfire. It's everywhere. Two, I had HPV and had precancerous cells in my cervix. I went through treatment for it, and it wasn't pleasant. I shudder to think what would have happened if I didn't go in every year for an annual Pap test. It may have been cancer if I had waited.
Being a cervical cancer survivor from HPV, if I had a daughter I would definitely let her get the vaccine.
Let Your Child Choose
I have mixed feelings about the HPV vaccine. On one hand, I've seen a lot of people die of cervical cancer, and it's a horrible way to die. I wouldn't want my daughter to die of cervical cancer -- especially knowing that I had the means to prevent it but refused because my head was buried in the sand. On the other hand, it's still a very new vaccine, and there are problems with it. I'd rather have more long term studies before I take the chance on it. I guess for me, my daughter knows where I stand on the issue and why. If she wants it, I'd let her get it -- after she gets information on it. If she opted out, I'd support that decision too. I'd just make sure she has as much information as she can get on both sides of the debate.
I did the research and decided it is not a vaccine I am going to have my children get. If, however, they want to get it when they are 18, they are more than welcome to do so.
My boys won't get the vaccine, and neither did my daughter. When they are adults they are welcome to research the vaccine and come to their own decision. As of right now, it's too new and my kids aren't guinea pigs.