Friday, August 14, 2009
Should your daughter get the HPV vaccine?
My wife and I have debated this topic. Should our daughters get the HPV vaccine? There are so many potential implications associated with this question. CNN has a story that asks the same question: Should your daughter get Gardasil, the vaccine against HPV?
Right now, Gardasil (made by Merck) is the only HPV vaccine that is approved by the FDA. There are other vaccines in the pipeline, but who knows if/when they will get approved. The FDA has been so slow these days. Someday, we'll probably have a single vaccine that includes all of these major shots. This way, you won't have to poke people multiple times. Kids (and adults) don't generally like needles.
HPV causes warts. It can also cause cervical cancer. So by vaccinating children, you could be preventing cancer. From a public health view, it seems like the right thing to do. However, HPV is also sexually transmitted. So if you're vaccinating children, what type of message are you conveying regarding sex and sexually transmitted diseases? If you tell your child "abstinence before marriage" and then give her an HPV vaccine, are you communicating mixed signals?
So what do you think about this topic? If you had a young daughter, would you have her get the HPV vaccine?
To read the CNN story, click here.