DISCLAIMER: This blog is simply to provide you, as a health care consumer, with information only. WARNING: Please note that the information contained in today’s blog is regarding a mature matter and for mature audiences ONLY!
What is Gardasil?
GARDASIL is the only HPV (Human Papillomavirus) vaccine that helps protect against 4 types of HPV. In girls and young women ages 9 to 26, GARDASIL helps protect against 2 types of HPV that cause about 75% of cervical cancer cases, and 2 more types that cause 90% of genital warts cases. In boys and young men ages 9 to 26, GARDASIL helps protect against 90% of genital warts cases.
What is Human papillomavirus?
Human papillomavirus (also called HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI). There are more than 40 HPV types that can infect the genital areas of males and females. These HPV types can also infect the mouth and throat. Most people who become infected with HPV do not even know they have it.
So, the first thing one thinks of when you read the above two paragraphs is this vaccination is merely a license to give young people the ability and protection to be sexually active, and sexually promiscuous. And, secondly, my child is not promiscuous and therefore this vaccination is not for him or her. I will be honest and tell you – it is the first thing I thought when I first received information about this vaccination.
First, The Facts: This vaccination is given in 3 separate doses. It is given initially, then at 2 mos. and then again at 6 mos. It is known that there are more than 30 genital HPV types, but what we do know is that Gardasil protects against the 4 most common forms. The vaccination is recommended for ages 9-21. It can be given later than this. Basically, it needs to be given before the person becomes sexually active. Therefore, I do not recommend it until a girl or boy is older – if they are not sexually active. This is one of those hard conversations that have to be had.
While everything in life comes with risks versus benefits, this is one vaccination that you should consider for your child, as prevention of genital warts and cervical cancer is a good thing! Cervical cancer in advancing stages has a very poor prognosis. In some cases, survival is only about 15%-20%. While genital warts are an annoyance, cervical cancer can kill!
Now, the question arises, if my child is not sexually active until marriage, then there should be no need for this vaccination. I consider this vaccination, an insurance policy. Consider this: We, unfortunately, do not pick whom our child will one day marry. If our child does remain celibate until marriage, and they should – what about the one they marry. Unfortunately, that child may be “perfect” now, but potentially could have had other sexual encounters and could easily have contracted HPV. This vaccination would likely protect your child from contracting HPV, genital warts, and possibly cervical cancer.
Please feel free to read this, think about, and ask questions. Information is power. This is simply a tool, which should lead to more conversations with your health care provider.