HPV Yes or No?

Cheryl Asaro December 1, 2013

Biology 1090

Kavitha Damal

Should vaccination for HPV be mandated for teenage girls?

Joseph E. Balog believes the HPV vaccination should be mandated for teenage girls. He believes it to

be justified on moral, scientific and public health records. The HPV or Human Papillomavirus is the

most common sexually transmitted infection in the U.S.. Over 6.2 million females are newly infected

each year. HPV is linked to cancer of the cervix. This is the most common cancer among women

around the world. This has lead to 3,700 deaths in developing countries. In the U.S. the risk of death

is lower because of the Pap (papanicolar) test which is the test that detects cervical cancer.

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved the HPV vaccine in June of 2006 against

four strains of HPV. The vaccine protects against 70% of cervical cancers that are linked to HPV, it

does not protect against all cancer causing types of HPV though. This vaccination is called Gardasil

it is marketed by Merck for females ages 9-26. This is a three dose vaccination that is given over 6

months of time and is one of the most expensive vaccinations.

Vaccinations are used to reduce disease, there are many mandatory vaccinations, measles and

polio are two of those. The HPV vaccine is recommended to prevent cancer and genital warts, youth

who face this threat are in as much need as the youth who faced the threat of polio in the 1950’s.

Gail Javitt, Deena Berkowitz and Lawrence O. Gostin believes the mandate of HPV would be

premature. HPV is different than most vaccinations because kids do not just go to school and get HPV,

they can get polio from another sick child. Children bring home the chicken pox virus from a child

who has not even been diagnosed with chicken pox. Children get tetanus from a scrape or a cut. All

school aged children are exposed to some kind of disease or virus at school, these vaccines are for

those instances. Because HPV does not present a public health necessity than many people believe it

should not be mandated. So it is to be said that because this is not a condition you can just get by

attending school there is no reason to receive it. Also, those that are not sexually active are not at risk

for transmitting or contracting HPV. The only problem with that is even if you only have one partner

as a married adult does not mean you will not contract HPV and it is a vaccine you need to get at a

young age. State mandated vaccinations always receive vocal anti vaccination movements, although

95 percent of the children in the US are vaccinated. Since this is a expensive vaccination it may be

unreasonable to enforce it as well. The current scientific evidence provided is that vaccinating girls

against the HPV before they are sexually active seems to provide significant protection against cervical

cancer. Though this information is provided it is believed that it would be premature and ill-advised.

This vaccine is new and long term effects are unknown. It is believed that before a mandate is imposed

the vaccine should be followed for several years first.

There was a poll, 61 percent of parents with daughters under the age of 18 prefered the

vaccination, 72 percent supported that health classes should provide information about it and 45

percent agreed that the vaccine should be included in regular vaccinations for children and teenagers.

Every vaccination has an opt-out provision for religious or philosophical beliefs, though some parents

may feel their 11 year old daughter does not need it because they are not at risk, later they may be.

I have my own personal beliefs and feelings on the HPV vaccination. My daughters became

sexually active at a very young age, as I spoke with their pediatirician about birth control options she

also told me about the vaccine, Gardasil. She spoke very highly of the vaccination. After explaining

that the vaccine prevented most common types of HPV that cause cervical cancer and genital warts I

chose to have my daughters vaccinated.

There are now two types of vaccines one is Gardasil and the other is Cervarix, they both protect

against cervical cancers. Gardasil also protects against genital warts, cancer of the anus, vagina and

vulva. Gadasil is also used for males. It is recommended that boys and girls between the age of 11 and

12 years receive this, that way they will develop an immune response before becoming sexually active.

The vaccine is recommended for boys until the age of 21 and girls until the age of 26. HPV is a

common virus and most sexually active people get it in their lifetime, most never know they have it.

The HPV is most common in teens and people in their early 20’s. There are over 40 types of

HPV that effect men and women in their genital area, most do not cause any symptoms and go away

on their own. Some types cause cancer of the cervix, vagina, anus, penis and oropharnyx ( the base of

the throat and tonsils). Their are types of HPV that only cause genital warts, this is not life threatening

but does cause stress and the treatment is is uncomfortable.

I never wanted my children to go through any of this so I decided this would be appropriate.

Since then I have met many young women who are my childrens age that have been diagnosed with

HPV. They were advised by their doctors that if they had been vaccinated for HPV they may have had

different results. Many of these girls were not sexually active until they were older and not at all

promiscuous. Some were very young and promiscuous, so the outcome can be the same despite how

sexually active you may be. The sad part is because of this virus many girls as adults cannot concieve

or are prone to miscarriages. I felt my daughters should be protected from those possiblities and had

the vaccine given to them. My son has also received this vaccination and I feel very strongly that it

will protect my children. I have met parents that have told me that it is silly to do that because I am

condoning them to be sexually active. I did not tell my children that I was doing this for them to have

sex safely, I explained that it would help prevent illness as an adult. Some parents have told me just to

explain what can happen if they have sex then they won’t. I was a teenager once and that is the last

thing a child is going to believe. Also just because you tell your child that drugs can kill you, does that

stop them? No, because it does not kill everyone the first time or the last time, it is usually caused by

the effects.

In my opinion it should be mandated to protect those women and men that may have the HPV

virus that causes cancer. If it is given with the DTP, Chicken Pox or other vaccines no child will no the

difference. Then when your child is older you can tell them you had them vaccinated for this to protect



Prafulla Garg, M.D.

Pamphlet from the CDC

American Journal of Public Health (April 2009)

The Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics (Summer 2008)


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