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Jahungo 19 June 2013 08:26 PM

HPV Vaccine Is Credited in Fall of Teenagersí Infection Rate
The prevalence of dangerous strains of the human papillomavirus — the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States and a principal cause of cervical cancer — has dropped by half among teenage girls in the last decade, a striking measure of success for a vaccine that was introduced only in 2006, federal health officials said on Wednesday.

Infection with the viral strains that cause cancer dropped to 3.6 percent among girls ages 14 to 19 in 2010, from 7.2 percent in 2006, a new study has found. The vaccine protects against strains of the HPV virus that cause 70 percent of cervical cancers.


The decline surprised public health experts because vaccination rates in the United States are still relatively low. Only about a third of teenage girls have been vaccinated with the full course of three doses, far lower than in other rich countries like Denmark and Britain, where vaccination rates are above 80 percent. Even Rwanda, a developing country in central Africa, has reached 80 percent.

Dr. Frieden said the low vaccination rate in the United States means that 50,000 girls alive today will eventually develop fatal cervical cancer, deaths that could have been prevented if the country’s rate had been at 80 percent. For every year the rate lags, another 4,400 girls will develop cervical cancer in their lifetimes, he said.

Latiam 19 June 2013 08:31 PM

I just picked up my doses of Gardasil yesterday. Since it's now recommended for up to age 45, my plan covered it. So why not? I've had relatively few partners.
On CBC I heard that they are now recommending it for boys of that age group as well. Not only will it protect them from some anal and rectal cancers (and throat cancer if you believe Michael Douglas), but it will also help keep the infection rate low, since only about 60% of girls are getting vaccinated in Canada.
I found out that my health plan covers ALL vaccines. Which makes sense, since they are preventative medicine.

E. Q. Taft 19 June 2013 09:17 PM

I suppose, in theory, the rate dropping despite the relatively low vaccination rate could be explained by the idea that girls/women who expect to be more sexually active are more likely to get the vaccination. I'm skeptical of that being the entire explanation, though.

Esprise Me 19 June 2013 11:15 PM

Vaccines don't just protect the person who gets them, though; in this case, they help protect every woman that every partner of the vaccinated woman will ever sleep with.

Simply Madeline 19 June 2013 11:39 PM

Oh, sure they're not going to die from cervical cancer, but the vaccine probably induced them to become promiscuous. Is the trade-off really worth it?

ETA: That was sarcasm by the way.

Morgaine 20 June 2013 03:23 AM

I don't understand the handwringing about this vaccine. I got it for both kids & explained what it was for. I didn't say 'Hey, now you can go out & screw like rabbits'. I explained that cervical cancer can make it more difficult, if not impossible, for a woman to carry a baby to term & I didn't want them to lose that option. Plus, even though they're probably not going to have sex for several years, why not just get the shot over with?

So they got it & then I took them out for ice cream, condoms & birth control pills. :p

Sylvanz 20 June 2013 03:34 AM

I made DD get it, and she was very sullen about it at the time. She has some very antiquated down right Victorian ideas about sex, and she says some very unkind things about other women. *sigh* She's a good kid, and I did not raise her with these attitudes. Other than this particular blind spot she's very socially aware, and liberal minded. I call her on it, and I'm gonna' keep calling her on it. She's only 22 so hopefully she'll come around.

lavender blue 20 June 2013 03:41 AM


Originally Posted by Latiam (Post 1745770)
Since it's now recommended for up to age 45, my plan covered it.

I'll have to check mine and see. Last time my doctor proposed it, I was older than the upper age limit. I have moved and changed doctors and insurance plans since then, though.

Lainie 20 June 2013 02:50 PM


Originally Posted by Morgaine (Post 1745890)
So they got it & then I took them out for ice cream, condoms & birth control pills. :p


I wonder sometimes about the conversations people have with their kids over these things. I was pretty open with DD about sex and sexuality, and the most open conversation about HPV that I can imagine would no more constitute an endorsement of promiscuity than it would a condemnation of premarital sex. It wasn't a value-driven explanation at all: it was about her health.

It's like the people who ask how they're supposed to explain gay marriage to small children -- IDK, how do g-you explain straight marriage? When g-you go to Susie and Bob's wedding, do you give your kids detailed info on Bob and Susie's sex life? :confused:

Morgaine 20 June 2013 06:55 PM

I don't know. I've tried really hard to be open as well as stay within our values. I think the problem is that some parents think you need to have 'THE TALK'. I'll be honest & say we dodged The Talk by having the kids take a class through the church. But...we've had a lot of conversations since then. Not major ones; just ones focused on issues that come up. We talked about not getting into sexual situations like the Ohio Football rape case (& talked about it from all sides) & just last week I talked to my DS about letting someone know if he finds a lump in his testicles or penis.
My point is that it doesn't have to be some big serious thing. It can be just a discussion in the car on the way to gymnastics about how it's not a good idea to take a pic of yourself naked & send it to a friend. I personally find the car to be a good place to bring up difficult issues because they can't escape but there's no eye contact. And if they want to bring it up later, at least the topic has been breeched.

Lainie 20 June 2013 07:04 PM

The car's a great place for sensitive talks, I agree.

Mickey Blue 20 June 2013 07:49 PM


Originally Posted by Morgaine (Post 1745890)
I don't understand the handwringing about this vaccine.

You probably don't understand the people who believe vaccines in general cause autism because some random celebrity told them so, or believe that despite literally mountains of evidence the world is only 6000 years old, or that because of an unusual drawing that they don't understand but kind of looks like an airplane exists on a wall of one temple in Egypt that ancient aliens built the pyramids, or any other crazy theory.

That's cause to believe them you have to be crazy.. Or at least profoundly ignorant about a particular topic coupled with a desire to have a prevailing view you already hold validated.

That said, basically the idea is that by removing the risks to sexual activity you increase the likelyhood of people doing so.. The idea itself sort of makes sense, I'm sure far fewer people would fly if airlines had a crash rate of 1% instead of 0.001% (just to pick two random numbers).

Conservatives and religious people tend to use fear to control people and have a particular history of doing so for young people. This takes away a valid, measurable amount of that fear that they can use, so of course they are against it.

Esprise Me 20 June 2013 10:31 PM

Re. having "the talk;" I fully support taking any opportunity to talk to your kids about the facts of life, but if you just can't bring yourself to talk about HPV, do you really have to do so in order to get your kid vaccinated? Here's how I picture the conversation between a nervous parent and 9-year-old daughter going:
Parent: I'm taking you to the doctor next week.
Daughter: Why?
Parent: You need a shot.
Daughter: Why?
Parent: Remember when you cut your foot last summer and had to get a tetanus shot so you wouldn't get lockjaw? This is sort of like that. You have to get three shots over the next few months so you don't get a certain type of cancer.
Daughter: Ugh.

I don't see the kid dragging it out of you that you have to have sex in order to get the virus that causes this type of cancer.

Lainie 20 June 2013 10:48 PM

There's really no need to.

Morgaine 20 June 2013 11:58 PM

You don't have to explain it but some kids want all the details. It would be 'What kind of cancer? How does the shot keep you from getting it?' And on & on.
With mine it's easier just to lay out the facts in a non-freaked out way.

Lainie 21 June 2013 12:02 AM


Originally Posted by Morgaine (Post 1746081)
I don't know. I've tried really hard to be open as well as stay within our values. I think the problem is that some parents think you need to have 'THE TALK'. I'll be honest & say we dodged The Talk by having the kids take a class through the church.

Whether they hear The Talk from their parents or attend a class (I sent DD to one, too) or learn some other way, I'm sure kids eventually tie sex into all these other things (HPV shots, Bob & Susie or Bob & Bob's wedding, etc.) -- all the pieces fall into place. It just seems some people think they need to connect those dots for the kids, explicitly. I don't think that's necessary.

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