New HPV vaccine prevents cervical cancer Fighting about sex seems to be America's favorite pastime and so everything about sex seems to be controversial. Now along comes a vaccine which, along with the 25 other vaccinations you've probably gotten in the first 12 years of your life, promises to safeguard you from a virus almost 50 percent (!) of sexually active women between the ages of 18 and 22 will be infected with. For some, the body's own immune system can clear infections with the less aggressive strains. For others, this new HPV vaccine can be life changing.
Approximately 20 million Americans are currently infected with some strain of the HPV virus. These numbers are staggering and it's obvious we all need to educate ourselves better. Here's some information we think is valuable for you to know before you make up your mind about whether it's for you. What is this new HPV vaccine and what does it protect us from? The new HPV vaccine, currently known as Gardasil, was developed to prevent cervical cancer and other diseases which are caused by certain types of the genital human papillomavirus (HPV). This HPV vaccine, given in three shots, protects against four HPV types which are responsible for 70% of cervical cancers and 90% of genital warts. The research suggests that the lifetime risk of cervical cancer would be reduced by 94% compared to no intervention at all. Why is a HPV vaccine recommended to such young girls? Ideally, females should get the HPV vaccine before they become sexually active since it is most effective in girls who have not acquired any HPV virus. Approximately 74% of the new HPV infections occurred among individuals 15 –24 years old. If the vaccine is given to 12-year-olds, it coincides with when they are probably receiving booster shots for other infectious diseases. And, as I'm sure you will agree, teenagers stay as far away from shot-happy health professionals as they possibly can. Their vaccination rates would be much lower than the vaccination rates of 12-year-olds, which mean much more HPV that is now preventable would go "unprevented." Is the HPV vaccine safe? The FDA has approved the HPV vaccine as safe and effective. It has been tested in over 11,000 females from the ages of 9 –26 in many countries around the world. These studies have shown no serious side effects. The most common side effect is soreness at the injection site. How effective is the HPV vaccine ? It is 100% effective on preventing cervical cancers caused by HPV. These studies also found it to be almost 100% effective in preventing pre-cancers of the vulva and vagina and genital warts that are caused by the HPV types. It was less effective in young women who had already been exposed to a vaccine HPV type. This HPV vaccine does not treat existing HPV, genital warts, pre-cancers or cancers. One more thing...the HPV vaccine does not protect anyone against anything other than some strains of HPV. Herpes, Chlamydia and other STDs continue to flourish. However for this troublesome, painful, cancer-causing infection that is unaffected by condoms and safe sex, we think we finally have a good weapon. Do your own research. Talk to your parents and your doctor and discuss what's best for you.
Learn about the hpv vaccine and read how to prevent std's at BeingGirl.com.