HPV, or Human Papilloma Virus, infects more than 50 percent of sexually active women and men. While there is no cure for HPV, a new vaccine can help prevent cervical cancer.
"I think people are afraid to talk about it for fear that it will put ideas in the kids' heads, but the ideas are already there, unfortunately," said mother Lori Boyken.
She supports the HPV vaccine. But across the street in another kitchen, neighbor Laura Bolerjack has different plans for her daughter.
"Well, I don't think she needs the vaccine at age ten," said Bolerjack. "It's not necessary, she's not going to be sexually active."
Bolerjack is a cervical cancer survivor. That experience makes her leery of giving her daughter a new vaccine. The HPV vaccine has been out less than a year, so she's in no rush to vaccinate.
"I just don't think I want my daughter to be the one they're doing their experiments on," said Bolerjack.
Even though the vaccine is new, health care providers recommend it for girls ages 9-12.
"I don't have a lot of concern, it has been tested with 11,000 people," said nurse practitioner Jan Lowery. "And there have not been any serious side effects, mostly it's just local tenderness at the site. No long-term effects have been determined at this point, so I don't have a lot of concern."
The HPV vaccine protects against four major types of HPV, two of which cause almost seventy percent of cervical cancer. If these girls receive the vaccine before they're sexually active, they have a very high chance of not getting cervical cancer due to HPV.
Denise Fernandez and Bolerjack have daughters on the same soccer team. Fernandez plans on discussing the vaccine with her daughter and ultimately have her vaccinated, but she still worries about pre-marital sex.
"I think I just have to have faith in her, explain and have faith in her that she's going to do the right thing," Fernandez said. "I don't think its going to make her feel like 'Oh, I've got this, so I'm covered you know, for going out and having sex or something'."
"It's not a permission slip, it's a protection," said Kelly Hayday, M.D., a family practice physician.
A protection this doctor and soccer mom hopes her own daughters will have. Because HPV is a sexually transmitted infection it is often difficult for parents to discuss it with their children. However, the buzz around the vaccine is increasing, already 22 states brought up legislation that could mandate the HPV vaccine.
For more information on HPV and the Gardasil vaccine, you can visit the Center for Disease Control Web site at www.Cdc.Gov.
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