HPV Vaccine for Teens: Doctors Voice Their Concerns
The vaccine toِ prevent cervical cancer, theِ fourth mostِ deadly cancer forِ women worldwide, hasِ faced difficulty inِ gaining acceptance inِ the United States, andِ a newِ survey mayِ indicateِ why.
The vaccine inِ question, marketed asِ Gardasil andِ Cervarix, prevents infection ofِ HPV, theِ human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted virus thatِ isِ the primary causeِ of cervical cancer andِ a major causeِ of anal, vaginal andِ penile cancers.
The HPV vaccine, approved byِ the FDA inِ 2006, isِ recommended forِ girls ages 9 andِ older, beforeِ they becomeِ sexually active.
A common virus
Most sexually active men andِ women willِ acquire atِ least oneِ strain ofِ HPV inِ their lives, andِ half ofِ sexually active young adults underِ age 25 areِ infected, according toِ theِ Centers forِ Disease Control andِ Prevention.
Worldwide thereِ areِ aboutِ a halfِ million cases annually andِ 250,000 related deaths, according toِ theِ World Health Organization.
The HPV vaccine isn’tِ the firstِ vaccine associatedِ with a sexually transmitted disease.
The doctors’ survey indicatedِ that someِ physicians — particularlyِ family physicians, asِ opposed toِ gynecologists andِ pediatricians — echoed complaints voiced byِ some parents: thatِ the vaccine givenِ to preteens orِ young teenagers promotes promiscuity, lulls girls intoِ a false sense ofِ security, andِ discourages themِ fromِ seeking regular gynecological screening.
There isِ no evidence toِ support theseِ concerns, theِ researchers said.
Thus teenagers wouldِ notِ haveِ unprotected sex based solely onِ protection offered againstِ something thatِ prevents cancer decades downِ the line.
Fewer thanِ 45 percent ofِ girls inِ the target group betweenِ ages 13 andِ 18 haveِ received oneِ or moreِ of theِ three shots, according toِ theِ CDC.
That’s lessِ than halfِ of theِ vaccination rates forِ most childhood vaccines.
The percentage ofِ girls whoِ complete theِ HPV vaccine series isِ dropping, according toِ a paper published lastِ month inِ the journal Cancer.