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A student looking at acomputer screen.
A student looking at an article about HPV vaccines. Photo by Kat McDermott.
Should you get the HPV vaccine?

What is HPV and how could it affect you?

What exactly is an HPV vaccine? What does HPV even mean? What are you getting this shot for in the first place? Well HPV, or human papillomavirus, is an infection that causes warts on various parts of the body; which is dependent on the area of stress. It is a lifelong virus and cannot be cured. While there are treatments to help with the warts, they’ll never go away, unless on their own. It’s one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases from unprotected vaginal, oral, and anal sex. It’s not only spread through bodily fluid, but skin to skin contact, so even if you’re using condoms, you may still get genital HPV.

HPV can be contracted from one partner and remain dormant, then later passed onto another sexual partner. While genital HPV causes no health problems, leaving it without treatment long enough can cause several types of cancer. This disease can cause penile cancer in men, and cervical, vaginal, and vulvar cancer in women. Men and women can be diagnosed with cancer of the mouth/throat and anus/rectum. Since the vaccination started, cervical cancer has gone from 1 in every 147, to 1 in every 400 women in the United States alone.

To help limit the spread of HPV, scientists came up with a vaccine. Recombinant Human Papillomavirus Quadrivalent Vaccine, or Gardasil. This HPV vaccine contains purified inactive proteins from the virus itself.

A particular student, who wishes to remain anonymous stated that, “I refuse to get the HPV vaccine because of the backlash about it over the years.”

She fears that she could have a bad reaction to the vaccine because her older sister did.
Yet the CDC has stated that clinical trials showed HPV vaccines provide close to 100% protection against cervical pre-cancers and genital warts. There has been a 64% reduction in vaccine-type HPV infections among teen girls in the United States since the first recommended HPV vaccine was implemented in 2006.

It’s recommended that 9-14 year olds should have two doses, while older adolescents require three. This is just because, according to the CDC, studies implied that two doses of an HPV vaccine six months apart, tends to work better than three doses given to older adolescents. Although no studies have been done to particularly prove this.

HPV vaccines are so low there actually people endorsing a new HPV vaccine that will only require two doses, as three makes it harder to vaccinate children for numerous reasons. Parents don’t want to go to the doctors so often, don’t want their child missing too much school, or that they feel it’s just a nuisance. It’s said that most people will be exposed to HPV one way or another in their lifetime, even if they don’t catch it. So why aren’t people getting this vaccine?
Parents are asking doctors, “My child doesn’t need to be sexually active at this age anyways, so why would I be getting this shot?” The answer to that is that the HPV vaccine is most effective when completed long before any sexual relations begin; which is why it’s recommended for young boys and girls. The HPV vaccine actually encourages a greater immune response while also producing higher antibodies to fight infection.

What kind of parent could you be, not allowing your child the protection of a deadly virus? Get your child vaccinated today.



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