Prevention of any disease is what you want to do for your children. You want to give them the best life possible.
Physicians know that the HPV (human papilloma virus) causes many diseases. And HPV vaccinations (like Gardasil) can prevent most of them.
We have heard all about HPV vaccine being able to prevent cancer of the cervix in girls/women. But now we know that it can also prevent other serious diseases that can produce pain, suffering, mutilating surgery, horrible quality of life, reduced sexual function, and even death. No one wants their child to ever suffer from those side effects of disease or treatment.
The diseases that the HPV vaccine can prevent now include not only cancer of the cervix, but also cancer of the vulva, genital warts, and in boys/men cancer of the penis (that can necessitate partial amputation of the penis to treat), and in both sexes, cancer of the mouth, lip and tongue which can necessitate disfiguring face, mouth or neck surgery and radiation. I treat these diseases every day in my practice and know that prevention could have avoided most of them.
A major fear of many parents about HPV vaccination is that it would encourage young girls to participate in promiscuous sexual behaviors, increasing teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. A recent article in Pediatrics has shown that over a period of 3 years after HPV vaccination in girls, there is no increase in pregnancy rates, no increase in sexually transmitted disease, and importantly, no increase in requests for contraceptive counseling.
So both girls and boys should have the HPV vaccination between ages 11 and 12. For more information about how to get your doctor to discuss prevention, and the benefits and side effects of vaccines, read my book Surviving American Medicine. Ask your doctor about HPV vaccination for each of your children.
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