Wednesday, April 6, 2011 By: Unconditionally You

HPV, Gardasil and Decisions (by Melissa)

I have a 12 year old daughter. I know one day she will be sexually active. I have done my best to arm her with all of the information available regarding her health. We have talked about birth control, condoms and waiting until you are truly ready to make the decision to have sexual intercourse. As a parent I have tried to be as open and honest with her about the options she has in life as far as her sexual health goes.

Also, as her parent, there are some decisions to make as well. I am sure many of you have heard about the vaccine Gardasil. It has been talked about in the media and debated between parents ever since it's release. Do I make my daughter get it? Does this give her the wrong impression that condoms aren't necessary? Will we find out 15 years from now that it actually causes horrible side effects? Is it being pushed too fast, too soon? Is it a great wonder vaccine that is a step towards curing cancer?

A million questions run through my head about this vaccine and I don't know what is the right decision to make. For once, I don't have a definitive yes or no about a health related issue. I research everything to the point of exhaustion. I try to make informed decisions. There is something about this one that causes me to feel a little bit of icy fear in the back of my mind though, and I can't put my finger on it.

I am not anti-vax. I fully support people's right to delay, or not vaccinate their children at all. However, after doing the research concluded that vaccinating was the right decision for my family. We have (more or less, I blame moving and being a tad bit unorganized) followed the recommended schedule for having all of the recommended childhood vaccinations. Gardisil has been the one though that I just had a reaction to as being uncomfortable with. Not in a "Oh my little snowflake won't be having sex until she is 30, so it's not necessary" type of way... but just discomfort.

While having a discussion with a group of parents I was surprised to learn you can actually have your son vaccinated as well. WHAT?! WHY?! Was my first reaction. So, I listened because admittedly, I was woefully ignorant about this. I have a six year old son and never even considered this to be something I would have to consider for him. Certainly men can contract HPV and infect their partners with HPV. As far as I knew Gardasil was being promoted as a way to prevent cervical cancer. Now I had new food for thought.

There you have it. Admitting to basing my fear and rejection of this vaccine on my ignorance in public is a bit embarrasing. Time to turn to Google. Don't laugh please, I do plan to discuss this in length with the pediatrician at the next well child check up for the kids. Google is what is available for now and I will stick to information that is from unbiased sources to help me gain more information.

Here is more information about HPV provided by the CDC. Please feel free to look at the information.

For the purpose of discussion it would be appreciated if you would leave a comment here regarding your feelings about Gardasil, or HPV in general. In no way am I suggesting that anyone run out to get the vaccine, let me make that VERY clear. I respect every parent has the right and responsibility to make an informed decision for their own child. Open discussion is good for all of us hopefully to raise awareness and bring different prospectives to an important topic.


MadameDeals said...

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Just me said...

Are you in the US? I'm in the UK and the HPV jab (never heard it called Gardasil before) was something that all teenage girls were really encouraged to get. Actually it was 3 jabs, over about 6 months. I had them - I had heard a little bit of worry in the news about potential dangers but those stories were SO rare, and any medication or vaccination has potential side effects. On the whole, the benefits far outweigh the risks. I was absolutely fine after the injections - I would encourage you to go for it.

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