Stories about: sexually transmitted disease

Why your children should get the HPV vaccine — and why they should get it early

HPV vaccine recommendationsIf there’s something we can do to prevent our children from getting cancer, we should do it. Plain and simple. That’s why the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that youth be vaccinated against Human Papilloma Virus, starting as young as 9 years old.

Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV, is the leading cause of cervical cancer. It can cause other cancers as well in both men and women, and is the cause of genital warts. The vaccine, which is given as three doses over 6 months, is very effective. And yet, some parents don’t want me to give the vaccine, especially when their children aren’t teenagers yet.

Here’s what seem to be the two biggest reasons:

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More and more teens infected with STDs

Teenage girl in trouble with parentsThe CDC just released its annual report on sexually transmitted diseases and the results for teens are pretty disturbing. Although 15- to 24-year-olds represent only 25% of the sexually experienced population, they acquire nearly half of all new STDs.

The report notes that sexually active teens are at a higher risk of contracting an STD because of a combination of behavioral, biological and cultural reasons. Barriers to accessing quality STD prevention services– like lack of insurance and transportation, or concerns about confidentiality, may also play a big role, the study concludes.

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