Behind the Hype of The HPV Vaccine
The HPV vaccine has been making news all across the globe and rightfully so! While there are hundreds of strains of HPV (Human Papillomavirus), there are only a handful that are actually considered high risk. These are the strains that increase your chances of cervical cancer, as well as some other less common genital cancers. So a vaccine that can prevent this from happening is definitely something to celebrate.
The HPV vaccine have so far been approved for girls and women of ages 9 to 25. The vaccine has also been shown effective in men, but currently there are still no approved HPV vaccines for males. Another promising bit of news is that an HPV vaccine is now being tested for use in older women which would be an even greater discovery to celebrate!
Why HPV Vaccines Are So Important
It has been shown that 80 percent of women will have been infected by one or more strains of HPV in their lifetime. This doesn’t mean that all of these women will go on to get cervical cancer-the percentage is actually not all that high. However, HPV is responsible for cervical dysplasia which refers to pre-cancerous cells on the cervix which can turn into cancer. HPV has also been shown to be responsible for some cases of anal cancer in men and women, vulvar and vaginal cancer and even cancer of the throat. These are usually spread through various forms of sex.
HPV vaccines are crucial in helping keep the mortality rate from cervical cancer down. Regular pap smears can help catch abnormalities that indicate a high risk for cancer, but there are still many women in our world who skip pap smears or simply don’t have access to proper medical care in their area. That reason makes the HPV vaccine even more necessary as it can lower the instances of cervical dysplasia and cervical cancer in these women.
How Young Is Too Young
HPV vaccines have proven controversial because they are recommended for girls as young as 9 years of age. You may not want to even consider that a girl so young could be having sex and many argue that this could be encouraging girls to think of and have sex much sooner. As disturbing as that may be, the reality is that giving a girl the vaccine before she is likely to become sexually active could save her life. And statistics show that girls are becoming sexually active at a younger and younger age. What’s a little controversy when the other option is saving lives?