Child Wellness: The Gardasil vaccine
STDs is a conversation not many parents want to have with their kids, but they should. Marcie Fraser takes a look at a vaccine that is proving to be very effective at protecting against HPV.
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"One statistic we often quote with parents is about 80 percent of women are infected at the age of forty, even if they have one partner in their lives," said pediatrician Dr. Manny Cirenza.
According to the CDC, most people who contract HPV, the human papillomavirus, clear it on their own. A main consequence for both men and women is genital warts. Unfortunately, many people become carriers of the virus and don't even know it and then they spread it.
"This carrier state often leads to cervical cancer which is quite dangerous and particular because it is often a cancer that goes undetected until it's in an advance stage, making it a significant killer," said Dr. Cirenza.
Years ago, a vaccine called Gardasil was created for females. The CDC recommends that girls ages 11 to 26, and most recently for boys from ages 9 to 26, get vaccinated. It's proven to be very effective.
"The amount of HPV that you see after this vaccine is virtually zero percent, so that is a really an exciting thing for this vaccine," said Dr. Cirenza.
For most parents, the vaccine is hard to consider because the last thing they want to believe is that their adolescent is having sexual relations. The vaccine offers a lifetime of protection when the child becomes an adult.
"This vaccine isn't so much to protect now or in the very near future but hopefully somewhere down the line," said Dr. Cirenza.
The vaccine is injected three different times, two to four months apart. Because the vaccine is given in three different intervals, compliance can be a problem.
Medical professional believe the compliance is better when you begin giving the vaccine before the age of 18, but college age students often don't make it back to complete all three shots.