As a parent myself I’ve had what can be those often uncomfortable conversations with my children regarding sex. Today, these conversations can become quite complex in an attempt to warn our children against the risks which accompany sexual activity especially with respect to sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
Many parents are not well-educated themselves with respect to many of the sexually transmitted diseases and infections which exist, thus making the education of their children even more difficult. Virtually every woman with whom I have spoken as an HPV advocate had never heard of HPV before their diagnosis.
As parents, we are certainly not comfortable with the thought of our children engaging in sexual activities in uncommitted relationships and at early ages. However, according to Bill Albert, a spokesman for The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, "Teenagers, by and large, have sex episodically, It has much more to do with opportunity than it does with a vaccination, for heaven's sake."
When it comes to the HPV (human papillomavirus) infection however, even celibacy until marriage cannot prevent one from contracting the virus. Recent studies from the University of South Florida have shown that half of all adult males in the U.S. may be infected with HPV, most unknowingly as it typically has no symptoms and is highly contagious. It is also transmitted through skin-to-skin contact and intercourse is not even necessary to become infected.
HPV is easily transmitted from males to females which is why it is important for not only girls but boys to be vaccinated as well. In addition, recent studies have shown that 75 percent of oropharyngeal cancers are the result of HPV. The majority of these are affecting younger men.
As parents, we do our best to educate our children not only with scientific knowledge but based on our own moral and religious beliefs as well. If we are confident in what we teach our children, a vaccine is not going to change that. If anything, it may very well save their lives.
" Why Teens Have Sex (Hint: It's Not About Vaccines) | Rick Perry & HPV Vaccine Controversy | Sexually Transmitted Infections | LiveScience ." N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2011.
" Half of U.S. Men Infected With HPV, Study Reveals." CancerCompass - Empowering cancer patients to make informed decisions. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2011.
"Can HPV Vaccine Stop Throat Cancer?." WebMD Children's Health Center - Kids health and safety information for a healthy child. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. http://children.webmd.com/vaccines/news/20110623/can-hpv-vaccine-stop-throat-cancer
Reviewed September 28, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith