By Emily Murray
Since Gardasil was first approved by the FDA in 2006, there has been no end to the discussion of this potentially lifesaving vaccine. Essentially it has been deemed the first vaccine that may actually be able to prevent certain types of cervical cancer causing infections. There are two types of infection that this vaccine defends against and they are responsible for 70% of HPV cases. HPV infection is spread through sexual contact.
So why would anyone object to protecting themselves or the ones they love?
The decision to vaccinate or not is a bit more complicated than that. Since it is recommended for young women to be vaccinated, the question is raised “are we advocating that our teens rush into sex?” While you will get many different answers to this question the more people you ask, there is one organization that has taken a stand for the vaccine to be recommended not just for young girls and women but also their male peers and it just so happens to be the largest group of pediatricians – the American Academy of Pediatrics.
As of this week, they are publicly backing the idea that boys 11 years old and older should be protected against HPV as well. While not as commonly mentioned by the media, HPV infection can also lead to cancer in men, though the odds are significantly less than women. Additionally, having boys and men vaccinated may help to stop the spread of HPV to women over time.
The same organization also continues to support the case for vaccinating young girls starting at 11 and 12 years of age. This vaccination is a series that consists of three shots. Unfortunately, another concern for those who may be thinking about having their child vaccinated is that the cost is rather high. The hope is though as more and more families see the need to not only vaccinated boys as well as girls, the cost will begin to come down. By encouraging vaccinations for both sexes, it may be our best defense against future generations becoming becoming infected with HPV.