HPV and the HPV vaccine
The CDC recommends giving the HPV vaccine to boys and girls at around 11 or 12 years of age. If you have a child who is approaching that age, your child's doctor may recommend the vaccine. You may be wondering whether you should have the HPV vaccine administered to your child.
HPV, or Human Papillomavirus, is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. As many as 14 million people in the united states become newly infected every year.
HPV is primarily responsible for a variety of cancers, including cervical cancer in women and anal cancer men and women, among other negative outcomes. The HPV vaccine has been studied extensively and has been shown to be extremely effective, preventing nearly 100% of HPV infections, thereby preventing the cancers HPV causes.
In order to ensure the highest chance of success for the vaccine, however, it must be administered prior to exposure to HPV. Since exposure occurs through sexual activity, that means it should be administered prior to any sexual activity. This can be a sensitive decision for a parent, complicated by the worry about any potential risks. So, a consideration of the pros and cons is smart.