Why you should consider vaccinating your children for HPV
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is a common virus that spreads through sexual contact, and because of this, controversy surrounds the HPV vaccinations.
Because God forbid that anyone’s child have sex—that never happens.
Okay, let’s take virginity off the table for a moment, if only to look at a few startling facts and statistics about HPV and the vaccines that could prevent its spread.
There are about 40 different types of HPV.
Some are directly linked to causing cervical cancer as well as other forms of cancers like head and neck, while other types of HPV cause genital warts in both males and females.
“High-risk HPV accounts for approximately 5 percent of all cancers worldwide,” and most “high-risk HPVs occur without any symptoms.”
Yet, even though HPV could join the ranks of other deadly or life-altering viruses that have been largely or entirely wiped out by the vaccination process, some parents are still hesitant to address this issue with their kids.
And contrary to popular belief, HPV doesn’t just affect your sexually-active girls either.
Both straight and gay men can transmit and contract HPV and genital infection isn’t limited to just the penis, but also to the rectum and scrotum.
Essentially, no matter who you’re having sex with, you need to be protected because you’re at risk—and why worry if our kids are virgins, gay or straight? It becomes a non-issue when we vaccinate all children.
Perhaps the biggest consideration that has been brought up as a potential reason why some parents choose not to vaccinate is this vaccine’s cost—which, if we’re being honest, is a very real concern.
Some—but not all—insurance companies will cover the fairly expensive cost (each dose can run up to $170). However, there are programs to help those without insurance at little to no cost. (Check out this Planned Parenthood link.)
At the same time, though, if cost is a genuine concern for you then you may want to weigh in how expensive radiation treatments for cancer are.
And although I can fully understand how basically no one wants to imagine their kids having sex, it’s part of real life and part of parenting.
You can talk to your children about abstinence, but that doesn’t mean that they will choose it.
If you’re looking for an article, or an author, that will argue with you about the general controversy surrounding whether or not to vaccinate your children for anything, you’ll be disappointed.
This article isn’t about that because, quite frankly, it’s an article-worthy subject all by itself—and it’s not my main concern.
The reality is that most of us do vaccinate our kids.
My daughter will never have to go through the itchy, summer-destroying, stuck-in-the-house-while-every-one-else-plays-and-swims-outside chicken pox—and why shouldn’t HPV also be something that she doesn’t have to worry about?
The entire reason that I wrote this and am bringing this to your attention is simply to get this conversation started.
Let’s put vaccinating all boys and girls for HPV on the table, and make it something that’s brought up with your pediatrician and your child’s school.
Let’s not single out children, expecting them to be virgins or heterosexual. Instead, let’s make this less of a problem for all of them by encouraging it for everyone.
There are two HPV vaccines, Gardasil and Ceravix. (Read more about them and their differences and usages here.)
So remember to ask your child’s physician during his or her next check-up to provide you with any other, more specific information that you might have questions or concerns about.
For more information check out the links within this article or talk with your doctor.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise