Help Protect Your Pre-Teen's Future Now
July 19, 2017
Dr. Elyse Brock
HPV may be a term you have heard, especially if you’ve seen the commercials with pre-teens asking parents, “Who knew there was something that could have helped protect me from HPV way before I would even be exposed to it. Did you know? Mom? Dad?”
HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause stereotypical STI symptoms such as genital warts. In case you didn’t know, different types of HPV can also cause very serious issues, such as cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers in females and anal cancer in both males and females, later in life. Gardasil is an FDA-approved vaccine in the United States that can protect your son or daughter from the future serious effects of the HPV disease.
Of course, parents want what’s best for their child, but some parents question why their pre-teen would need this vaccine if they are not sexually active. The bottom-line answer is this vaccine is meant to protect our children in the future and is most effective when given at age 11 or 12 years.
Gardasil Is Safe
Gardasil is a 9-valent vaccine that protects against the nine most dangerous types of HPV. This vaccine has been approved to be given to both boys and girls ages 9-26 but is typically administered in the age range of 11-12 years. The series requires two or three shots depending on the age of when the vaccination starts. The gynecology community is very much in favor of the Gardasil vaccine.
Does Not Increase Sexual Activity Among Younger Teens
Studies have proven that giving your child the Gardasil vaccine will not change their onset of sexual interest nor has it caused an increase in teenage pregnancy rates. By protecting your child with this vaccine, you are protecting them from cancer when they become sexually active later in life. The HPV vaccine has been proven to work better for individuals who received the vaccine in their earlier years – yet another reason to vaccinate your child in that 11-12 age range.
HPV is common and has been around for a long time. About 80 percent of women have tested positive for HPV at some point in their lives from an abnormal pap smear prior to the vaccine being available. Many who are infected with HPV do not know they even have it. Generally, the disease will clear on its own for most people infected. However, if it doesn’t, it could cause certain pre-cancers, cancers and other diseases.
It’s also important to know that 1 in 3 women will experience a non-consensual sexual encounter in her lifetime. If an unlikely event were to occur, having the Gardasil vaccine will help protect her from HPV and any potential risks associated with the disease. It’s all about protecting your child!
The physicians at Huron Regional Medical Center are here to help you with answering any questions you may have about the Gardasil vaccine. Visit our Find a Doc and schedule an appointment today. It’s all about keeping you and your family healthy with quality health care close to home!
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