HPV Hoopla


Human Papillomavirus is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the US.  And thanks to a really awesome effort by the company that makes the vaccine (sarcasm intended) we all know that it is the virus that causes cervical cancer.

The formal recommendation for this vaccine will be in April 2007.  The vaccine protection lasts at least 5 years and is most effective before the young lady gets exposed to the virus. (Yes, that means before she has sex, and no, I don't mind that I have all boys, although eventually this vaccine will be recommended for them too.) 

Now, there were some crazy ideas about making every 9-11 year old girl get this vaccine.  That ain't gonna happen.  Admittedly, thinking about your daughter having sex is unpleasant (or am I just projecting my fear of my own teenager growing up?) but for the great majority of women, sex is in their future, and they may be exposed to this virus.  Healthcare decisions, though, will remain with the parent.  It is our job to bring you the info, and yours to decide what you will do with it.

I am recommending the vaccine.  The opportunity to prevent cervical cancer is a powerful one. I also recommend that you check with your insurance company before calling to schedule to receive this, because it is wildly expensive.  That's another soap box.  Sigh.

Here's the info from the CDC on the vaccine.