Let’s talk turkey about a tough subject—the incredible incidence of sexually transmitted disease among Americans. HPV is a serious sexually transmitted disease. Some strains of it cause about 70% of cervical cancers. HPV is rampant among Americans.
For the facts, see a 1-page FAQ sheet from the American Social Health Association.
In June 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Gardasil, a vaccine by Merck and Company to prevent cervical cancer and genital warts caused by certain types of HPV. The vaccine is licensed for use in girls and women ages 9-26 years. In clinical trials Gardasil was shown to be nearly 100% effective at blocking persistent infection and disease with the “high-risk” HPV types responsible for 70% of cervical cancers (HPV 16 and 18) and the “low-risk” types (HPV 6 and 11) associated with 90% of genital warts.
The CDC has released a bulletin in which it states that 50% of sexually active people will become infected with HPV.
Some states are considering mandating immunization in children. There was legislation pending recently in Michigan, but so far we have no State law mandating immunization. Proponents of mandatory immunization contend that if the vaccination is lumped together with mumps, measles, and rubella, a parent’s explanation can be as simple as “this is a shot that is a regular childhood shot,” circumventing the argument or fear that to vaccinate a child is to condone pre-marital sex.
See a recent Denver Post article on pending legislation in Colorado to make the HPV vaccine mandatory.
See also, scary facts on teen sexual behavior from the Alan Guttmacher Institute.
Needless to say, there are many sources with negative reports on efforts to make vaccination mandatory. Objections range from concern about safety concerns from an “unproven” vaccine to concerns that to vaccinate will send a message to teenagers that having sex outside of marriage is OK. See, for example, a report in the Washington Post. Cervical Cancer Vaccine Gets Injected With a Social Issue: Some Fear a Shot For Teens Could Encourage Sex
My two cents worth? I don't think we're going to be successful with an abstinence policy. In my opinion, we need to safeguard our youngsters with a vaccine.